Countries have a common destiny and should formalize channels for security dialogue, said the head of a newly created group of local officials.
By Lin Tsuei-yi and Jonathan Chin / Staff Journalist, with Staff Editor
An alliance of Japanese local government leaders on Thursday called on Tokyo to draft a Japanese version of the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act to improve bilateral security cooperation.
The legislation would create a bilateral channel for security and political dialogues that the two countries need, the Japan-Taiwan Co-Prosperity Leaders Alliance said at its founding event in Tokyo.
The alliance includes 127 mayors of towns and villages, 42 of whom participated in the event.
Photo: Lin Tsuei-yi, Taipei Times
Kaga Mayor Riku Miyamoto, who chairs the alliance, said ahead of the event that the growing risk of an emergency in the Taiwan Strait had sparked talks in Japan.
Miyamoto quoted former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying earlier this month that an emergency in Taiwan would be an emergency for Japan and the Japan-US security alliance.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) should not misjudge the situation, Miyamoto said quoting Abe.
Abe’s comments reflect the views of those hoping for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, Miyamoto said.
As Japan and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations, the two countries conduct their diplomatic affairs through civilian channels, he said, adding that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ‘s appeal to the Establishing a dialogue on national security had gone unheeded in Tokyo.
Japan needs a law inspired by the Taiwan Relations Act of the United States to create a mechanism that would allow official dialogue on security issues, he said.
The Japanese government’s inactivity prompted local authorities to demand legislative action, he added.
The two countries have a special relationship and a common destiny, Miyamoto said later at the event.
Taiwan has played an indispensable role in securing Japan’s maritime lifelines, he said, adding that Japan should be grateful.
Taiwan is one of the countries that shares Japan’s belief in the universal values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, said Sanae Takaichi, a representative of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan, citing the party’s platform for the general election earlier this year. .
The LDP supports Taipei’s candidacy for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to participate as an observer in the WHO, Takaichi said.
Addressing the event via teleconference from Taiwan, Japan Representative Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) urged the two countries to strengthen ties between local governments, charity groups and educational institutions, and through events intercultural, festivals and sports competitions.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐 江 安) said the ministry was pleased that Japanese officials were expressing support for the institutionalization of the relationship.
Taiwan and Japan are like-minded partners with shared values and deep bonds between their peoples, she said, adding that the ministry plans to follow developments and promote the growth of substantive relations.
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