Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui was scheduled to arrive in Japan today for a five-day trip to receive medical checkups for a heart condition after Tokyo granted him an entry visa Friday.
After heavy debate on the issue, Japan officially announced Friday it would allow Lee to enter Japan, noting that the decision was made “purely from a humanitarian viewpoint.”
“Lee’s activities in Japan should be limited to receiving medical treatment, and we do not suppose he will conduct any political activities,” Foreign Minister Yohei Kono told reporters Friday.
The visa was issued Friday night to Lee’s representatives by the Interchange Association, Japan’s unofficial mission in Taipei.
The foreign minister also said that despite the issuance, Japan’s policy toward China remains unchanged.
China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, has repeatedly warned Japan not to allow Lee’s visit, saying that Lee is using overseas trips to campaign against China’s avowed goal of reunification with Taiwan.
Although he admitted that Tokyo-Beijing ties could be strained over the decision, Kono stressed, “Japan’s position over Taiwan will remain as stated in the 1972 Japan-China joint communique.”
He also stressed that Tokyo will not take a “two-China” policy.
According to Kono, Vice Foreign Minister Yutaka Kawashima informed Chinese Ambassador Chen Jian about the decision earlier Friday in an effort to seek Beijing’s understanding. However, Chen reportedly replied that Japan had made a “wrong decision” and called Lee’s visit a “conspiracy by forces seeking Taiwan’s independence.”
Kono made the announcement after Friday evening talks with Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who has repeatedly pushed the reluctant Foreign Ministry to issue the visa.
Lee was expected to enter Japan via Kansai International Airport today and visit a Japanese heart surgeon at a cardiology center in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on Tuesday for a followup exam on an angioplasty he had in November in Taipei.
He will stay in an Osaka hotel throughout his visit.
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