TAIWAN – Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui left for Japan on Friday for a seven-day vacation that will take him to several parts of the country.
Accompanied by his wife and two daughters, Lee, who was to arrive at Kansai International Airport, is due to attend a seminar on cancer treatment and give a talk in Osaka on Saturday.
The family will travel to Tokyo on Sunday, where he will give another talk and have dinner with members of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan.
On Monday, Lee will visit a solar power station in Ukishima, Kanagawa Prefecture, and spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Hokkaido where he will visit a dairy and cattle farm in Chitose and museums in Otaru.
He is scheduled to return to Taiwan on Thursday evening.
Lee’s office declined to comment on speculation that Lee might visit war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where his brother is enshrined with Japan’s war dead, including Class-A war criminals.
Lee paid his respects at the war shrine in 2007, causing China to express “strong dissatisfaction” with Japan.
His office also declined to reveal whether Lee will touch on the issue of drafting a Japanese version of the Taiwan Relations Act in his talks.
The Taiwan Relations Act governs relations between Taiwan and the United States after Washington switched allegiance to Beijing in 1978.
Japan does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but the proposed bill, championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, seeks to normalize the unofficial ties.
The trip is Lee’s sixth visit here since he stepped down as president, and his first since 2009.
He planned to visit in May last year but was forced to cancel at the last minute due to health reasons.
Growing up under Japanese rule in Taiwan, Lee developed an affinity for Japan even before he went to study at Kyoto Imperial University, now known as Kyoto University.
Lee is Taiwan’s first directly elected leader and led the self-ruling island from January 1988 until May 2000.
Taiwan and China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has since then endeavored to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province awaiting reunification.
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