PM Abe, Other Japanese Leaders Mourn Ex-Taiwan Pres. Lee

Politics

Tokyo, July 31 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed his deep condolences over the passing of former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, praising his contributions to promoting friendship between Japan and Taiwan.

"It's extremely painful," Abe told reporters at the prime minister's office, following Lee's death on Thursday at the age of 97.

The former Taiwanese leader "greatly contributed to boosting friendly relations between Japan and Taiwan," Abe said. "I offer my heartfelt prayers" for Lee, he said.

Lee established "freedom, democracy, human rights and universal values in Taiwan" and "laid the foundation for Japan-Taiwan relations," Abe said, adding, "Lee always had special thoughts about Japan, and many Japanese people have particularly friendly feelings about him."

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he met with Lee in Taiwan when Japan's Liberal Democratic Party was out of power. Lee "was already nearly 90 years old at the time but was full of energy," Suga said at a press conference. "I remember him talking about his thoughts about Taiwan and Japan enthusiastically."

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