TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A delegation of 12 lawmakers from three Japanese opposition parties is slated to visit Taiwan from July 2-4.
Maehara Seiji, former foreign minister and senior-level member of the Democratic Party for the People, will lead the group to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and high-level officials from the Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party, NHK reported. The delegation intends to reaffirm the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and strengthen security, the economy, and other areas between Taiwan and Japan.
The former foreign minister called Taiwan an important friend that shares common values with Japan, such as democracy, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law. He said the delegation wants to tell Taiwan it is valued not only by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party but by opposition parties as well.
Former Deputy Defense Minister Watanabe Shu and Fumitake Fujita, secretary-general of the Japan Innovation Party will accompany Maehara, who was invited by the Taiwan government.
Japan has begun considering Taiwan’s security as a significant aspect of its own security in recent years. In December 2021, late former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared, “Taiwan’s problem is also a problem for Japan.”
Many other top Japanese government officials have echoed this sentiment. The Japanese military has built a missile base on Ishigaki island to shore up its defense against a possible cross-strait conflict.
Japan has also drafted a plan with the U.S. for a joint operation in a possible Taiwan emergency. Under the plan, U.S. Marines would set up a makeshift base during the initial stage of a contingency on the Nansei Islands, per Kyodo News.