Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs finds verdict about Kansai airport rumor hard to accept

Taiwanese diplomat committed suicide after criticism of assistance to stranded passengers

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Kansai Airport during Typhoon Jebi last September.

Kansai Airport during Typhoon Jebi last September. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday it found hard to accept a court decision not to fine a Taiwanese student for spreading false rumors about the situation of Taiwanese travelers at Kansai Airport during Typhoon Jebi last September.

Only recently was the identity discovered of a person who had spread complaints online about the aid or lack thereof provided by Taiwanese officials to stranded airline passengers, while contrasting their situation unfavorably with assistance from Chinese diplomats. The online comments said the Taiwanese could only leave the airport by boarding buses provided by China.

The person’s remarks were widely believed to have contributed to the September 14 suicide of Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), a diplomat at Taiwan’s office in Osaka who left a note behind saying how deeply the criticism had pained him.

The authorities identified the person having spread the online rumors as a Taipei university student named Yu (游). However, a court ruled that he should not be fined, as the police had been unable to prove that his words had been “ sufficient to influence public peace.”

MOFA reacted with dismay to the court decision, as it seemed not to assign any responsibility for words which had damaged its reputation, the Central News Agency reported.