One week after the fact, the Japan Times ジャパンタイムズ finally notices what Ma Ying-jeou (Ba Eikyū) 馬英九 didn't say in his inauguration speech ("China-wary Ma omits Japan in inaugural speech" http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080527f3.html):
"Amid roaring applause in a packed stadium, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou heralded what he called 'a new era' in relations with China in his inaugural speech, delivered at the Taipei Arena 台北アリーナ just hours after he took office May 20. But for many in Japan, from where the most well-wishers after those from the United States came to attend Ma's inauguration, the key speech fell flat. Despite reports earlier this month that Ma would pledge to bolster ties with Japan and reiterate his support for the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance 日米安保 in the speech, he made no mention of Tōkyō 東京."
Needless to say, the Japanese delegation wasn't very pleased:
"Delegation leader Takeo Hiranuma 平沼赳夫, a House of Representatives 衆議院 member who leads a pro-Taiwan caucus, politely rapped Ma after the speech. 'If you are re-elected in four years, I hope you'll clearly mention Japan in your next inaugural speech,' Hiranuma told Ma..."
Although the article doesn't touch on this, it seems Hiranuma's words to Ma were mistranslated, something to the effect that Ma was told that Hiranuma hoped he could deliver his next inauguration speech in fluent Japanese! Clearly, last Tuesday was not Japan's day. The article, meanwhile, goes to say:
"Considering Ma's focus on Japan at key junctures in the presidential race, the omission raised eyebrows. But Ma's even stronger platform focus on China, whose relations with Japan are often strained, goes a long way in explaining why Ma felt Japan — a key, albeit unofficial, ally of Taiwan — did not get a mention..."
No surprise here, it was most likely due to Chinese pressure that Ma decided to omit any references to Japan:
"Lingering disputes between China and Japan — especially over the war — 'make Ma wary of being seen as too pro-Japan' while seeking accommodation with Beijing 北京..."
It's difficult to imagine anyone in their right mind ever mistaking Ma Ying-jeou for being "pro-Japan", but if he is so afraid of offending China that he couldn't make even a single reference to Taiwan's most important economic/military/political partner/supporter after the United States, then his administration has not gotten off to a very confidence-inspiring start.
The JT article, incidentally, is a shortened version of the story written by Max Hirsch of Kyōdō News 共同通信社, which can be seen at Thirsty Ghosts http://thirstyghosts2.blogspot.com/2008/05/focus-wary-of-china-taiwans-ma-omits.html. Hirsch's full article goes on to clarify:
"...Ma's own background as KMT 中国国民党 standard-bearer...further illuminates his omission of Japan in a speech that charts the future of Taiwan's foreign policies. Officially supporting eventual unification with China, the KMT identifies strongly with Chinese nationalism and has typically fared poorly at fostering a rapport with Japan."
Ma tried to cover his tracks at a later press conference:
"...stress(ing) the importance of bilateral ties with Japan, Taiwan's second largest trading partner after China, top foreign tourism destination and potential security partner. 'We are willing to promote even stronger ties with Japan,' he said, but added, 'I can't really name all the countries in my inaugural address.'
He certainly mentioned China often enough!
Next week I'll be taking a one-week break from all this talk about the most glorious people of China by visiting Japan, land of the "little devils".