Former Prime Minister Abe was assassinated at noon on July 8 and died a few hours later. On July 11, Taiwan’s Vice President, Lai Ching-te, went to Tokyo to offer condolences.
Lai became the highest-ranking Taiwanese serving official visiting Japan in 37 years.
Shinzo Abe was said to be a hardliner on policies with Beijing. This is evident in his past friendship and values relationship with Taiwan.
It is also said that Abe wanted to amend Japan’s constitution by removing constraints to increase the power and influence of Japan’s military, in the context of Beijing increasingly showing its ambition in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
In an interview with VOA, Xie Wensheng, an expert on Japan-China relations, said that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party won more than two-thirds of the required seats in the Japanese upper house election on July 10 to make constitutional amendments.
The constitutional amendment was the will of former Prime Minister Abe. So Lai Ching-te’s visit to Japan showed that Kishida’s cabinet would like to convey the message that his government would inherit Abe’s policy.
Lin Quanzhong, executive director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Wuhan University, shares the same view as Xie. Lin said that Fumio Kishida clearly wants to use his tenure to continue to follow the will of Abe and the United States in policy with Beijing.
Lin said that Kishida gained more confidence and self-determination from the Liberal Democratic Party’s recent victory in the Senate. So the Vice President of Taiwan was invited. This action of Kishida is very different from the initial impression he showed when he first took over as prime minister.
Lin Quanzhong said that any faction of the Liberal Democratic Party is greatly influenced by Abe’s policy towards China, and they will maintain the basic line of the Abe era, China should understand this reality.