Paying homage to the Japanese Emperor; the curious case of the 'Taiwan Civil Government'

People supporting Taiwan's fringe political faction were waving flags in celebration of the Emperor's 84th birthday celebration

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Screen grab of photos originally posted by Huanqiu media.

Screen grab of photos originally posted by Huanqiu media.

 TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Dec. 23, Japanese Emperor Akihito celebrated his 84th birthday, with record numbers of guests visiting the palace grounds to celebrate the occasion.

Many of the revelers could be seen waving Japanese flags as they cheered and wished the Emperor well. However, there were a few other flags among the crowd that caught the attention of reporters.

Some visitors were there representing the self-styled “Taiwan Civil Government (TCG)” (台灣民政府), and a noticeable contingent could be seen waving the TCG flag.

To those unaware of the Taiwan Civil Government and their political position, on the surface it would seem peculiar that non-Japanese flags were present and permitted at the birthday celebration of the Japanese Emperor.

The TCG is a seemingly anachronistic political faction that has maintained its organization throughout the 20th century and still has a surprising number of members in Taiwan.

As odd as it sounds, from the perspective of the TCG, the Japanese Emperor is the single most important political figure in determining the political status of Taiwan.

According to their version of historical events, Taiwan legally remains Japanese territory which is still awaiting a proper designation and ruling on its official status.

Their political ideology is centered around the Theory of Undetermined Status of Taiwan.


The emblem/flag of the TCG. It incorporates the red outer circle on a white field as a reference to the Japanese Flag, and the five pointed stars and blue circle in reference to the United States Military Government.

In brief, they assert that; following the end of World War 2 Japan’s territory acquired during the war was surrendered to the Pacific Command of the United States Government, and subsequently designated under the jurisdiction of the US Military Government according to the Treaty of San Francisco signed in 1951, and enacted in 1952.

The USMG never formally designated Taiwan as an independent state nor was the territory ever officially ceded to any other nation (ie China). The forces under Chiang Kai-Shek, according to the TCG’s historical perspective, had no mandate to occupy the islands.

As for celebrating the Japanese Emperor and declarations that Taiwan is still Japanese territory; the TCG ideology relies on dogged textual analysis and an “if-then” proposition.

The text of the San Francisco Treaty says that Japan "will concur in any proposal of the United States," and the TCG is still awaiting a decision from the United States, to which Japan may concur.

Ergo, Taiwan’s territory remains stuck in historical limbo and the Japanese Emperor is the closest thing to a head of state that Taiwan has, according to the questionable legal reasoning upon which the TCG base their claims.

This is not the first time that the TCG has sent delegates to the imperial celebrations; in fact there are delegations every year, an indication of how seriously the TCG takes its claims.

For most people in Taiwan, the TCG remains a very fringe and very perplexing political group in Taiwan.

The Chinese media site that first published the photos, Huanqiu, under the title “Outrage! The Japanese Emperor has tacitly acquiesced to the division of China” (氣憤!日本天皇慶生竟默許分裂中國行動) has since removed the report from their webpage.


Screen grab from Google

From the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party, the TCG and their imagery in proximity to the Japanese Imperial family may arouse far too many questions about sensitive issues for Chinese audiences.

The Emperor also officially announced the date of his abdication from the Chrysanthemum Throne for April 30, 2019. His eldest son Norihito, who is 59 years old, will then assume the title.


Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Dec. 23 (Image: Associated Press)