【AFP】Japan issues visa to Taiwan ex-leader Lee despite Chinese protests

The Japanese government has issued tourist visas to former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui and his family, despite loud calls from China that doing so would damage relations with Tokyo.

“The government issued short-term, 15-day visas to Mr Lee Teng-hui and his family who are coming to Japan for sightseeing,” a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry told AFP.

The visas were issued through the Taipei office of the Interchange Association, which represents Japan on the island in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Japan has said the 81-year-old former Taiwanese leader, who studied in Japan in his youth, was considered a tourist and would not engage in political activities here.

But the Chinese government has said the planned visit was “by no means personal or one of nostalgia” and warned it would sour already tense relations between China and Japan.

The Japanese government has taken the unusual step of asking journalists not to follow Lee during his visit, scheduled for late December to early January.

China calls Lee, who was president from 1988 to 2000, a separatist who is pushing for formal independence for Taiwan, which separated from mainland China in 1949 but is considered by Beijing to be part of its territory.

Lee last came to Japan in April 2001 for medical treatment to follow up on surgery he had undergone a year earlier in Taipei. Beijing filed a strong protest to Tokyo over that visit.

Tokyo switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1972 and has since barred official contacts with Taiwan, a position it says is not changed by the granting of a visa to Lee.

【Bloomberg】China Warns Japan Not to Issue Visa to Taiwan’s Lee

China warned Japan not to allow former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to visit, calling him a threat to peace between Taiwan and the mainland and to Sino-Japanese relations.

“Issuing a visa would hurt relations between Japan and China,” Wang Yi, China’s ambassador to Japan, told a group of business executives in Tokyo. Lee is “not just a trouble maker, but also a potential war maker,” Wang said.

Lee’s visa to visit Japan, which was approved today, will be valid from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, Kyodo News Service reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

China’s government opposes the issuance of visas to Lee because it views him as a leading advocate for Taiwan’s independence. The government in Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who arrived about 10 minutes after Wang’s speech at the business meeting, earlier today told reporters there is no reason to deny Lee a visa. Lee, 81, last visited Japan in April 2001 for heart surgery.

Sino-Japanese relations have been strained as China has said it opposes Koizumi’s visits to a Tokyo shrine honoring dead soldiers, including war criminals. Japan complained earlier this month after China ignored a request that it withdraw a nuclear submarine from waters Japan says are within its exclusive economic zone.

China’s legislature is preparing to enact a law that forbids secession, which may lay a legal framework for action against Taiwan if the island declares independence.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee will take up the measure

【CNN】Japan issues visa to Taiwan’s Lee

Japan has issued a visa for former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to visit over the holidays, a Foreign Ministry official said, shrugging off protests by China.

The visa was issued by the Interchange Association, which operates as Japan’s representative office in Taipei, Taiwan, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The visa will allow Lee to make a single entry into Japan for a stay of 15 days, the same as other tourists from Taiwan, the official said.

Japan’s government announced last week that it would issue the visa, prompting China to urge it to reconsider to avoid aggravating already tense ties between the two countries.

Beijing insists that Taiwan is a part of its territory and opposes contact between the island’s government and other countries — even visits by former Taiwanese leaders — that might imply the island is an independent country.

Japan’s government has said that the visa would not imply Tokyo’s support for Taiwanese independence. Lee was to come to Japan as a private citizen with his family during the year-end holidays.

The government says the 81-year-old Lee, who visited in 2001 to receive treatment for a heart condition, had promised not to engage in any political activity in Japan.

The visit sparked a protest in Beijing on Monday. A small group of demonstrators gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy demanded that Tokyo reverse its decision.

【Taipei Times】Japan ignores China’s threats over visa

Japan yesterday confirmed it will issue a visa to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) as stated earlier, despite China’s warning of retaliation.

Chinese envoy to Japan Cheng Yonghua (程永華) invited reporters to the Chinese embassy in Tokyo yesterday and told them that Beijing hoped the Japanese government would reverse the decision.

Lee may seek the support of Japanese politicians and businessmen for his Taiwanese independence agenda during his stay in Japan, the Central News Agency (CNA) quoted Cheng as saying.

“The Japanese government’s decision to issue a visa to Lee will definitely have a negative impact on Japan-China relations … Beijing may consider acts of retaliation depending on how Japan responds to its request,” Cheng said.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters that the Japanese government would not change its decision.

“We plan to issue a visa as scheduled,” he said, without saying when.

Hosoda urged the media not to follow Lee and report on his trip, as his journey was private with no political intentions.

Tokyo had announced its decision to issue a visa to Lee last Thursday, which would allow him to travel to Japan at the end of this month. Lee filed his visa application at the Japan Interchange Association in Taipei the day after the announcement.

A spokesman for the association said in an interview yesterday that it had not yet issued a visa to Lee.

“We haven’t received any instructions from our foreign ministry,” he said.

The spokesman declined to answer when the visa might be issued and said he was not clear about China’s warning.

“This question should be addressed to our foreign ministry in Tokyo,” he said.

“Lee’s trip to Japan, if successfully made, will mark an important step in the normalization of Taiwan-Japan relations,” World United Formosans for Independence chairman Ng Chiau-tong (?昭堂) said after Lee filed the application.

CNA quoted a close friend of Lee as saying that Lee will take his wife Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠), granddaughter Lee Kun-yi (李坤儀) and daughter-in-law Chang Yue-yun (張月雲) with him.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) officials said the trip was a gauge of Taiwan-Japan relations.

Tokyo granted Lee a visa on “humanitarian grounds” in 2001 so he could receive medical treatment. This time, however, Tokyo had loosened its position and decided to allow Lee to visit for tourism purpose, the TSU officials said.

“No wonder China reacted so strongly,” they added.

The agency quoted sources in Japan as saying that Lee will arrive in that country next Monday and stay for one week.





【東京】李登輝前総統にビザ発給 中国は猛反発か








【毎日】李登輝氏来日:観光目的の短期ビザ発給 中国の反発必至




【朝日】政府、李登輝氏にビザ発給 27日に名古屋入り予定










【産経①】李登輝氏にビザ発給 小泉首相「断る理由ない」








《「発給しないで」 中国共産党幹部》

【共同①】李登輝氏訪日「日中間の問題」 中国共産党の劉副部長




【共同②】李登輝氏のビザ発給取り消し要求 王毅中国大使



【共同③】中国の対日感情は最低 李氏来日で劉副部長



【共同④】中国が「強い不満」表明 台湾前総統ビザ発給で




【毎日①】<李登輝氏来日>報復措置の姿勢 中国外務省


【毎日②】李登輝・前台湾総統訪日問題:自民に面会自粛を要請 町村外相