Breaking News: Director of Taiwan representative office in Osaka commits suicide

Director of Taiwan Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Osaka, Japan commits suicide

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Su Chi-cheng.

Su Chi-cheng. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Su Chii-cherng (蘇啓誠), the Director General of the Taiwan Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Osaka, Japan unexpectedly died today from an apparent suicide, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Taiwan's Presidential Office and MOFA today confirmed reports that Su, 61, had been found dead in his official residence from an apparent suicide and expressed their deepest sorrow and regret, reported Liberty Times. According to media reports, after Su failed to appear for work, his secretary searched his residence and discovered that he had died from an apparent hanging. 

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) instructed MOFA to fully assist Su's family members in handling funeral arrangements and related matters and called on all circles to give maximum encouragement and support to Taiwan's diplomats, who work hard every day on the front lines for the country. Su had only recently started at his post as Director General of the Osaka office in July of this year, according to UDN.

MOFA today issued a Tweet stating that it was saddened by Su's passing and sent its condolences and sympathies to his family and friends. MOFA praised Su for being a "dedicated & hardworking diplomat who served Taiwan unfailingly throughout his career."

After thousands of Taiwanese became trapped in Japan from Typhoon Jebi  and an earthquake in Hokkaido, Su had faced much criticism online for allegedly not providing sufficient assistance in terms of evacuations and accommodations from Taiwan's Osaka representative office, however, it is not yet known if this was the motive for his suicide, reported Apple Daily

Su's death comes a day before the directors of all six of Taiwan's representative offices were due to discuss their management of request by those Taiwanese trapped in Osaka after flooding caused by Typhoon Jebi and stranded in Hokkaido because of landslides brought on by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake. Some had criticized the staff at the Osaka office for what they perceived to be an inadequate response to calls for assistance in evacuating the flooded Kansai International Airport, which saw some 500 Taiwanese stranded for an extended period of time. 

Witnesses on the scene refuted reports by Chinese state-run media outlets which had claimed that Taiwanese tourists stranded at Japan's Kansai International Airport were forced to declare themselves as Chinese, before they could board evacuation buses dispatched by the Chinese embassy. 

Su graduated from the Department of Japanese Language Studies at Soochow University and studied at the Institute for Japanese Language and Literature at Chinese Culture University and the Japanese Language Studies Department at Osaka University. 

Tweet issued today by MOFA:

Those considering suicide should immediately call the Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center at any time at 0800-788995 or Taiwan Lifeline International at 1995. Foreign residents can call the Community Services Center's emergency hotline at 0932-594-578 24 hours a day.