The Legislative Yuan’s parliamentary friendship association for the East Asian region yesterday announced that it is officially inviting former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to visit Taiwan next year.
The group held a news conference and presented copies of a letter of invitation for Abe to give a speech at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
Next year would be a momentous occasion for Japan, with the nation marking the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, as well as the proposed staging of the delayed Summer Olympic and Paralympic games, it said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
The letter cited the strong friendship between Taiwan and Japan, and how the two countries have aided each other in times of need.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文), head of the association, said he believed that next year would be the best time to invite Abe, as he would have had time to recuperate after stepping down as prime minister due to health reasons.
Abe had made it possible for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to visit and address the Japanese Diet on his views on democracy and other academic topics, DPP Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) said.
The Legislative Yuan, as a representative of Taiwan’s citizenry, is the best proxy in expressing its friendship to other countries, DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) said.
Abe is seen as a political figure who has been most friendly toward Taiwan and the invitation could pave the way for even closer relations between the two nations, she said.
Taiwan and Japan enjoy very friendly non-government relations and a visit by Abe would boost bilateral relations, which is especially heartening as Taiwan is faced with an unfriendly neighbor, DPP Legislator Chang Hung-lu (張宏陸) said.
Chang said he hoped that in the future, high-level government officials from Taiwan and Japan would be able to visit each other.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the ministry would like to thank the association for its contributions to furthering Taiwan-Japan relations.
Abe had on multiple occasions expressed that Taiwan and Japan have shared values, and that Taiwan is a “cherished friend and partner,” she said.
Under Abe, the Japanese government was amenable to Taiwan joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and other international bodies, such as the WHO, she added.
The ministry will continue to deepen relations with Japan, while stepping up efforts to enhance ties with Abe and other Japanese officials, Ou said.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan
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