Japanese prime minister’s National Day greetings to Taiwan turn out to be fake

Taiwan's Premier Su vows to hold accountable officials who mishandled matter

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Photo of alleged Shinzo Abe's greetings has been removed

Photo of alleged Shinzo Abe's greetings has been removed

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government of Taiwan was embarrassed to find that National Day greetings apparently extended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have turned out to be fake.

On Oct. 4, the Fukuoka Branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka posted photos on its website showing felicitations allegedly offered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wishing Taiwan prosperity and its people happiness. The greetings were prominently displayed at the gala event marking Double Ten Day, the country’s 108th anniversary.

The message was touted as a demonstration of the cordial relationship between the two countries, which have supported each other in the wake of natural disasters. It also came at a time when Taiwan is struggling to retain diplomatic allies as China ratchets up efforts to isolate it, thus the message was interpreted as a gesture of solidarity by Japan.

Embarrassingly, it was discovered that the wishes were not delivered from the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan nor registered officially, reported CNA. The photos have since been taken down from the diplomatic office's website.

The diplomatic faux pas has sparked a political outcry in Taiwan, with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) promising on Tuesday (Oct. 8) to take to task those who mishandled the matter. Adequately trained and professional diplomats should not have committed such a mistake, said Su, infuriated.

The greetings are said to have been relayed by “longtime, trustworthy political friends” in Japan, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安). An investigation is underway to look into the gaffe, she told CNA.

Shinzo Abe's alleged best wishes to Taiwan (Fukuoka Branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka)