TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Japan was changing the name of its representative office to ‘Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association’ from ‘Interchange Association, Japan’ in a move welcomed by Taiwanese politicians.
The association represents Japanese interests in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Its Taiwanese counterpart, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), has been headed by a former premier, Frank Hsieh, for the past few months in another sign of harmonious relations between the two countries.
Academics described the name change for the office as an important milestone, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Taipei welcomed it.
The move should not anger China too much, said ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng. The association was a private organization which did not resort under Japan’s foreign ministry, so Beijing should not really mind, according to Lo.
He suggested that the Association of East Asian Relations, the body which stands above TECRO, should also change its name because neither Taiwanese nor Japanese members of the public understood what it stood for.
MOFA described the Japanese office’s new name as a positive development reflecting the increasing business and trade relationship. Taiwan is Tokyo’s fourth largest trading partner, Japan is Taiwan’s third largest.