China protest expected for Akama trip

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China is expected to react angrily to Japan’s sending of a senior official to Taiwan in a rare visit since Taipei and Tokyo severed diplomatic ties in 1972, Japanese media reported Saturday. Jiro Akama, deputy minister of internal affairs and communications, arrived in Taipei to attend an event promoting Japanese tourism, becoming the highest ranking Japanese official to visit Taiwan since 1972. Beijing has yet to respond to Akama’s visit, but NHK said Japan is braced for strong opposition from China, according to the Central News Agency.

Before departing for Taipei, Akama told NHK at the airport that his attendance of a promotional event in Taipei did not mean any change in Japan’s relations with mainland China or with Taiwan, according to CNA. Japan still adheres to its existing “framework” for ties with the two countries, CNA cited the deputy minister as telling NHK. Akama added that there were no arrangements for him to meet with any Taiwanese official and he would return to Japan on Saturday night, according to CNA. Last year, Beijing expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Japan’s decision to change the name of its de facto embassy in the Republic of China to include the word “Taiwan.”