Japanese commentator backs ex-Premier Lai for president of Taiwan

President Tsai is too soft on China: Sakurai

Ex-Premier William Lai (right) in Japan with commentator Yoshiko Sakurai.

Ex-Premier William Lai (right) in Japan with commentator Yoshiko Sakurai. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A prominent political commentator in Japan said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should not run for re-election as she had no chance of winning, while also comparing her to disgraced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Yoshiko Sakurai wrote in a magazine article that former Premier William Lai (賴清德) would be the most ideal president for Taiwan from Japan’s viewpoint, the Taiwan People News reported Saturday (May 25).

The columnist said she had met Tsai several times, and compared her to Park, described them both as “academic types.” She also accused Tsai of relying too much on the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), appointing its members to key positions such as defense minister, in the hope of appeasing China.

Because Tsai’s economic policies were weak, more and more people in Taiwan were looking to support the KMT even though they knew it would end with being swallowed up by China, Sakurai said.

People needed to show more patience with the economy, but could absolutely not allow Taiwan to be annexed by China, she added.

During Lai’s visit to Japan, the columnist described him as holding no illusions about China, and as having a correct understanding of the international situation, the Taiwan People News reported.

In a magazine article, Sakurai predicted that if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost to the KMT in Taiwan’s January 2020 presidential elections, there would not just be a change of power, but even a change of country, with a transfer from a Taiwan ruled by the Taiwanese to a province controlled by China.

As Tsai has no way of winning the election, she should step back and drop out of the DPP primaries, Sakurai said, and “build a future for the Taiwanese people.”