Vice President William Lai became Taiwan's most senior official to visit Japan in five decades as he made a private trip to Tokyo to pay his respects on Monday following the recent killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by a gunman.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official said ministry officials were aware that Lai was in Japan on a private visit to pay his respects after Abe was killed on Friday.

The official declined to give further details, including how long Lai would be in Japan.