Japan states support for Taiwan’s observer status at WHA

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at hits office in Tokyo on May 19, 2020. Abe spoke to reporters about a proposed amendment to extend the retirement age of high-ranking prosecutors as harsh public opposition has mounted at night of previous day. The ruling parties, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito Party decided to delay the bill which was to raise the retirement age of prosecutors from 63-65. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) — Japan has long supported Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the World Health Assembly (WHA), according to the 2020 Diplomatic Bluebook.

This is the first time the bluebook has included support for Taiwan’s bid to obtain observer status at the World Health Assembly since 2017 when Taiwan was banned from attending the meeting due to China’s opposition.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi issued the report on the bluebook at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi issued a report on the blue book in the Cabinet on Tuesday.(Courtesy of FNN)

Regarding the novel coronavirus, the bluebook stresses that the coronavirus first appeared in China, adding that the pandemic is having a major global impact on various aspects, such as the economic, social and diplomatic.

In terms of Japan-Russia relations, the bluebook said that the northern territories are islands over which Japan has sovereignty, stating that the two countries will work to negotiate a basic policy for concluding a peace treaty after resolving the attribution issue of the four northern islands.

Last year’s bluebook did not mention that the four islands “belong to Japan,” leading to criticism mainly from members of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Regarding South Korea, the phrase “important neighbor” was revived for the first time in three years. Japan and South Korea held a summit in December last year which has helped mended bilateral relations to some extent.