By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
A Double Ten National Day greeting congratulating Taiwan apparently signed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was obtained through a “local channel” in Fukuoka Prefecture and lacked official reference numbers, but it is not a fabricated document, Ministry of Foreign Affairs （MOFA） spokeswoman Joanne Ou （歐江安） said yesterday.
The Fukoka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka on Friday last week held a Double Ten National Day celebration and later posted photographs showing messages marking the Republic of China’s 108th anniversary with the signatures of Abe and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.
However, when asked for comment by a Chinese reporter, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Naoki Okada on Monday said that Abe did not send the note, sparking controversy about the authenticity and source of the message.
It would be a major breakthrough if Abe or Aso called the nation by its full name, but further investigation is needed to determine if diplomatic personnel released a message improperly, Premier Su Tseng-chang （蘇貞昌） said on Tuesday when responding to questions from Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Legislator Chiang Nai-shin （蔣乃辛） at the Legislative Yuan.
The ministry was not aware of the letter before it was disclosed by the media, but it has instructed the Fukuoka branch to promptly submit a full report, Ou told reporters.
The branch received the greeting from a local Japanese politician friendly to Taiwan, she said, but added that the ministry could not offer more details about the original form of the letter or who provided it.
The office did receive the letter; it was not fabricated, but it did not bear the approval of the Japanese government, nor was it listed in the ministry’s official documentation, Ou said when pressed by reporters on the authenticity of the letter.
The branch briefed the ministry after it held the National Day celebration, but normal procedures do not require it to report to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh （謝長廷）, she said.
The ministry cautiously handles letters from foreign governments and it was the first time that a problem has occurred, she added.
Additional reporting by CNA
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou answers reporters’ questions at a news conference at the ministry in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times