Japan respects judiciary in taxi driver case: JIA

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

The China Post–The de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan yesterday expressed respect over the nation’s judicial system and pledged that it would not intervene in any individual case involved with Japanese nationals who allegedly commit crimes in the country. The Japan Interchange Association (JIA) in Taipei said it will only offer legal assistance to those involved in legal cases in Taiwan. The organization will not ask local legal authorities to cut jail terms or pleading for parole for those convicted with crimes here, it said in a released statement. The JIA is a quasi-official organization authorized by the Japanese government to handle relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

The statement came amid the ongoing news of local singer Makiyo, a Japanese national, and her Japanese friend, Takateru Tomoyori, who got into a dispute with a Taiwanese taxi driver last week that resulted in the cab driver being hospitalized. The incident occurred last Thursday in Taipei, when Makiyo and Tomoyori allegedly refused to wear their seat belts when taking a cab, with the conflict escalating into a physical dispute.

The taxi driver has since remained in intensive care after suffering serious head injuries during the incident. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said the incident will not affect the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries. The MOFA has consulted Japanese authorities about the case, with the JIA saying they fully respect the local judicial system, MOFA spokesman James Chang told reporters yesterday when asked to comment.