Japan Welcomes Taiwan Vice President Lai’s Victory: A Step Toward Strengthening Japan-Taiwan Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa speaks to the press in Washington on Friday.

The Japanese government has welcomed the victory of Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Taiwanese presidential election. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said that the Japanese government congratulates Mr. Lai on his victory in a statement released Saturday night.

Kamikawa pointed out, “For Japan, Taiwan is an extremely crucial partner and an important friend, with which it shares fundamental values.” She added, “The government of Japan will work toward further deepening cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Taiwan,” echoing the statements made by previous foreign ministers during the elections won by President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 and her re-election in 2020.

However, there are voices within the Japanese government that express concern over the rising tensions in China-Taiwan relations. A senior official in the Foreign Ministry said, “China will likely intensify its pressure on Taiwan.” Kamikawa emphasized in her statement, “We expect that the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue, thereby contributing to the peace and stability in the region.”

Lai attended the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022. Following the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, like Tsai, he expressed his support for Japan in Japanese on his X account, saying, “Japan’s emergency is Taiwan’s emergency.” Prof. Madoka Fukuda of Hosei University, an expert in China-Taiwan relations, said on Lai: “He has placed importance on relations with Japanese legislators. He has high expectations for security, economic, and cultural exchanges with Japan. If Japan meets these expectations, Japan-Taiwan relations will strengthen.”