Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) yesterday called on Japan to introduce a “Japanese version of the [US’] Taiwan Travel Act” to facilitate mutual visits by senior officials from both countries.
Kuo, who heads the legislature’s friendship association for East Asia, made the remark at the launch ceremony of the Taiwan Japan Academy at National Chengchi University in Taipei, attended by experts and academics urging stronger Taiwan-Japan ties.
Kuo said that the nation should support Taiwan-friendly Japanese lawmakers who are pushing for a mechanism that would allow official visits.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The friendship between Taiwan and Japan is strong, and the two peoples have come to each other’s aid in the wake of natural disasters, he said.
Former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) approach to the ties had led to structural changes, he said.
Kuo said he hopes that Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which is traditionally Taiwan-friendly, would continue this path. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and members of his Cabinet have repeatedly emphasized the importance of Taiwan’s security, which suggests a shift in Tokyo’s approach to cross-strait affairs, he said.
When then-US president Bill Clinton in 1996 asked Tokyo to revise the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, the discourse in Tokyo revolved around “the situation in the surrounding area,” he said.
That the Suga administration bolstered its geostrategic policy shows that a different school of thought now prevails in Japan’s national security establishment, he said.
Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Representative Hiroyasu Izumi said Japan hopes that the academy would help bolster rapport and understanding between the two sides, adding that knowledge of Japan would become an asset in Taiwan.
The two countries’ relationship is based on mutual goodwill and sympathy, as demonstrated after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
The passing of an old generation of Japanese-speaking Taiwanese — such as Lee, who made great contributions to the bilateral relationship — has made the academy’s work more important than ever, he said.
Taiwan and Japan have technology advantages that could complement each other in ways that could contribute to world peace and prosperity, he added.
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