Japanese emperor’s birthday celebrated in Taiwan

Japanese emperor’s birthday celebrated in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Dec. 12 Kyodo

Japanese Emperor Akihito’s birthday was celebrated Friday in Taipei for the first time in 30 years since Japan severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

More than 400 guests, including Taiwan’s Presidential Office Secretary General Chiou I-jen, National Security Council Secretary General Kang Ning-hsiang and Foreign Minister Eugene Chien, attended the party.

The event was hosted by the Interchange Association, Japan’s de facto diplomatic mission in Taipei.

”The bilateral relations in all fields between Japan and Taiwan have been growing steadily over the past three decades, thanks to many people’s efforts,” Interchange Association chief representative Katsuhisa Uchida told the gathering.

”In the age of globalization, we need more creativity and wisdom to boost bilateral exchanges between both sides,” he added.

Japan switched official recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1972.

”Japan has replaced the United States to become Taiwan’s biggest trade partner since this month. In this regard, we sincerely hope that the landmark ceremony will open a new chapter for the relationship between Japan and Taiwan,” said Hsu Shui-teh, director of the Association of East Asian Relations and Taiwan’s former representative to Japan.

Last month, China unofficially protested to Japanese diplomats in Beijing over the party.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the association, which is a private organization, should not be hosting ceremonies that are usually held at diplomatic missions.

Emperor Akihito’s birthday is Dec. 23, which is a national holiday in Japan.

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