The Presidential Office yesterday denied a media report that first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) had asked Hotel Okura Tokyo — where she stayed during her recent visit to the Japanese capital — to take down a Republic of China (ROC) national flag because she was not visiting as the first lady.
“Chow has never spoken to Hotel Okura Tokyo’s management about the [ROC] national flag, therefore it is not true that she asked the hotel to take down the flag, as reported by the media,” a Presidential Office official said. “It has been a tradition for Hotel Okura Tokyo to raise the flag of the country of an important guest on the day the guest arrives and on the day the guest departs as a show of respect. The hotel followed the same tradition when Chow stayed at the hotel.”
The office was responding to a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News on Tuesday that, out of respect for Chow as Taiwan’s first lady, Hotel Okura Tokyo raised the national flag outside the building upon her arrival on Monday, but the flag was taken down the next day at Chow’s request.
The newspaper said that Chow did so because she was not visiting as the first lady, but rather as the honorary president of the Vox Nativa Taiwan children’s choir and head of a National Palace Museum delegation visiting the Tokyo National Museum.
The newspaper praised Chow for having written a new page in Taiwan’s diplomatic history, saying her “low-key” approach — including requesting that the ROC flag not be flown by the hotel — showed she was cognizant of the sensitive nature of Taiwan-Japan relations in the face of enormous pressure from China.
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