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Japanese delegation to visit, take part in nuclear power forum: gov't

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Japanese delegation consisting of a former Japanese chief cabinet secretary and a number of nuclear power experts is scheduled to visit Taiwan later this week to participate in a nuclear power forum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday.

The 18-member delegation to be led by Akito Arima, a Japanese nuclear physicist and former president of the University of Tokyo, and Hiroyuki Hosoda, a former chief cabinet secretary, will visit Taiwan from April 25 to 29, announced Lo Koon-tsan (羅坤燦), secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations.

The association is in charge of ties with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou during its five-day visit. It will also meet with Atomic Energy Council (AEC, 原能會) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) and take part in a forum in Taipei organized by state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower, 台電) this Sunday on Japan's plan to reinstate nuclear power, he noted.

Lo said the Japanese delegation's upcoming tour is meant to conduct two-way exchange on nuclear power, dismissing media speculations that the visit is meant to show Japan's support of Taiwan's plan to continue the use of nuclear power.

Asked if the delegation will visit Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant during its stay, Lo said the itinerary of the delegation is arranged by Taipower and the ministry does not know if it will visit the plant, which is currently under construction in New Taipei City's Gongliao District (貢寮).

The news of the upcoming visit of the delegation came after former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄), an iconic anti-nuclear power figure in Taiwan, began a hunger strike earlier on the same day to highlight his demand that Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant be scrapped for safety reasons.

An anti-nuclear rally is also scheduled to be staged in downtown Taipei this coming Saturday.

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