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Friday, May 18, 2007

Japan Travels 日本旅行

It looks like I'm not the only person from Taiwan who will soon be making a visit to Japan. According to an article in today's Daily Yomiuri  (Japanese version), former Taiwan president Lee Tung-hui (Li Tenghui / Li Denghuei) 李登輝 will be making an 11-day trip to Japan at the end of May. Lee will visit Akita 秋田県, Iwate 岩手県, Miyagi 宮城県 and Tochigi 栃木県 Prefectures, as well as Tokyo 東京. What I found interesting about this article is that Lee appears to have been treated as a private citizen by the Japanese government - he will going over as a short-term visitor exempt from obtaining an entry visa. It also seems there won't be any restrictions placed on his visit, as the article says he is planning to hold a press conference before coming back to Taiwan. And finally, there is no mention made of any opposition on the part of the Chinese government.

Which is how it should be. The man is no longer a government official, and should be treated in the same manner as any other visitor to Japan (or any other country for that matter, including the USA) from Taiwan. If he makes some political comments during his visit, that should be his right. Too often countries bow to pressure from Beijing when it comes to Lee's overseas travels, and place ridiculous restrictions on his visits. I certainly hope the Japanese government won't kowtow to the Chinese this time.

My own visit to Japan will be next month, from the 17th to the 24th of June. I'm planning to visit Yoshino 吉野, Omine-san 大峰山 and Koya-san 高野山, with overnight stays in Osaka 大阪 and Kyoto 京都. It's going to be hard being away from Amber and Pamela during that week, but I really need the break from Taiwan.


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