Tsai visits Japan’s Cabinet Office

By Christine Chou ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairwoman and presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), visited the Cabinet Office building (內閣廳府廳舍) in Japan yesterday, nearing the end of her four-day “friendship tour.” Tsai’s motorcade was spotted leaving the Cabinet Office building, which is equivalent to Taiwan’s Executive Yuan (行政院).

DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) did not deny the visit in an interview with the Taiwanese media. “We did have some plans scheduled today, to exchange thoughts with our Japanese friends,” said Wu.

However, when asked with whom she met in the government building, Tsai declined to specify details. She shrugged off the speculation and said she was simply having dinner with Mitsuo Ohashi (大橋光夫), head of the Interchange Association of Japan.

In a foreign policy speech made on Sept. 22, Tsai said that one of her top priorities, if she were to become president, would be to “strengthen our partnerships with the United States, Japan and other like-minded democracies from around the world.”

Tsai arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday, and visited the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, 自民黨) headquarters yesterday afternoon, as the final leg of the trip.

Speculation of Abe-Tsai Meeting On Thursday, Japanese media speculated that Tsai had accidentally met with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the hotel that Tsai was staying at during her trip. This invoked speculation of whether they corresponded through clandestine methods in the hotel, which is located next to Abe’s office. Both parties denied any chance encounters between them.

The speculation was fueled by Tsai’s meeting with Abe’s younger brother and LDP lawmaker Nobuo Kishi (岸信夫) on the previous day. Upon Kishi’s invitation, Tsai visited Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口縣), Abe’s electoral district and hometown. According to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Kishi said Abe was “happy” that Tsai visited the prefecture. When former President Lee Teng-hui (李燈輝) visited Japan in July, local media reported that Lee and Abe had met in the same hotel, but Lee declined to comment on whether the meeting took place. Meetings between Taiwan and Japan political figures have remained low key due to oppositions from the Beijing government. On Sept. 25, even before Tsai embarked on the trip to Japan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei (洪磊), remarked that China was “deeply concerned about and firmly opposed to” Tsai’s visit.