Taiwanese visas to be eased for expo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Friday backed a proposal to waive visa requirements for Taiwanese tourists to help boost crowds at the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture, according to officials.

Nobuteru Ishihara, minister of land, infrastructure and transport, proposed at an informal Cabinet meeting the same day that the waiver be given before the expo kicks off in March. The idea was backed by Shoichi Nakagawa, minister of economy, trade and industry, and home affairs minister Taro Aso.

The Foreign Ministry said in a memo read by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda on behalf of Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, who is abroad, that thorough consideration must be made in consideration of relations with China.

Koizumi told the ministers to “go ahead and think of what can be done with Taiwan,” the officials said.