December 22, 2004


Japan Issues Visa to Taiwan's Lee (Bruce Wallace, December 22, 2004, LA Times)

An aging politician's desire to visit his alma mater has turned into a diplomatic confrontation between Japan and China, adding one more irritant to an already strained relationship between Asia's biggest powers.

On Tuesday, Tokyo granted a 15-day tourist visa to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, 81, who planned to arrive in Japan on Dec. 27 with his wife, daughter and granddaughter for what officials here described as a private holiday.

Lee was one of four Chinese students given a scholarship to attend Kyoto University during Japan's 1895-1945 occupation of Taiwan, and he is expected to visit the school during a vacation scheduled to last until Jan. 2.

But Japan's decision to allow Taiwan's feisty former president into the country has angered Beijing. China opposes any move seen as bestowing international legitimacy on Lee, who has remained a prominent advocate of Taiwanese independence from China since leaving office four years ago.

The Chinese government had warned Japan that it faced a "fierce reaction" if it allowed Lee to visit, saying he would use the occasion to promote Taiwanese separatism.

Kind of fun having the taunt the Chinese and North Koreans into apoplexy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2004 8:37 AM

This is all of a piece with the Japanese seeking closer ties with India. They are running up against all the problems in dealing with the PRC that anyone could have told them about decades ago, but that the American business community continues to ignore.

The PRC is on the decline not on the rise.

Posted by: Bart at December 22, 2004 9:30 AM

As you said yesterday OJ, the japanese are dead in the short term anyway.

On that subject, here is a video showing the new generation of Japanese citizen(right-click,new window)

Posted by: h-man at December 22, 2004 10:05 AM