Japan has once again pushed the World Health Organization (WHO) to permit a Taiwanese presence at its plenary sessions
Asking for Taiwan to be allowed entry as an observer as the world discusses the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato speaking remotely to the WHO member states said “Consideration should be given to regions which successfully embraced COVID-19 in terms of public health response, such as Taiwan.”
Continuing, “I would like to state we should not leave any geographical vacuums in addressing global health issues such as infectious disease control,” Kato’s address to the UN body was also mentioned in a daily news conference in Tokyo held by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga of the (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe administration.
“It’s regrettable that Taiwan was not able to participate in the general meeting as an observer” Suga said to the gathered domestic and international media.
In related news, it is understood by The Taiwan Times that Japan has also backed Taiwanese observer status in the Japanese government’s ‘2020 Diplomatic Bluebook’ – an annual report on Japan’s Foreign Policy and Activities published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
It is the first time mention was made of Taiwan’s bid since 2017, when Chinese pressure saw the WHO ban Taiwan from attending.
Japan is represented in Taiwan by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, with Taiwan represented in Japan by the corresponding Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan.