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Recalled representative heads back to Tokyo

Taiwan's top envoy to Japan, Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳), returned to Tokyo yesterday evening, three weeks after he was recalled in protest over Japan's so-called “purchase” of part of the disputed Diaoyutai Islands.

The de facto ambassador to Japan took a flight from Taipei's Songshan Airport around 6 p.m. heading back to Tokyo.

Shen had returned to Taiwan on Sept. 12 at the instruction of the Foreign Ministry in response to Japan's “nationalization” of three uninhabited islets in the island group.

Speaking earlier yesterday in the Legislative Yuan, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said Shen was heading back to Japan with the major task of pushing for the resumption of long-stalled bilateral fishery talks.

Shen has completed his temporary mission in Taipei and it is time to send him back to Tokyo, especially since the representative plays a very important role in bilateral communications, Lin told lawmakers.

The top priority for Shen after he returns to Tokyo will be preparing for the next round of Taiwan-Japan talks on fishing rights, when both sides need to reach a consensus on when to hold the talks and what their agenda should be, the minister noted.

Shen also needs to continue to promote the East China Sea Peace Initiative in Japan and to push for an exhibition in Japan next year which will feature prized collections from Taiwan's National Palace Museum.

The representative will also be hosting a celebration for Taiwan's Oct. 10 National Day at Taipei's representative office in Tokyo.

The 17th round of bilateral fishing rights talks were originally set for early October, according to local media reports.

But the nation now needs to reconsider that timetable in light of Japan's “nationalization” move.

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