The foreign ministry confirmed Wednesday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used the term “President” to refer to President Tsai Ing-wen in a letter. Abe sent the letter to give his condolences to Tsai after the recent Hualien earthquake. The ministry said Tsai was clearly addressed as “President” in the letter.
The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the city of Hualien on February 6 destroyed four buildings and left 17 dead. Japan sent a team of rescue experts to assist in the search for survivors two days after the quake took place.
Media reports however indicated that Tsai’s title “President” was removed from the version of the letter posted on the Japanese prime minister’s official website. When asked about the issue, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied that the title was removed due to pressure from China. Suga explained that removing Tsai’s title was instead a correction made so that the letter addresses Taiwan’s people as a whole.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry says it is not in a position to make any comments on the situation.