Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) announced on Tuesday that he had met with prominent Japanese politician Taro Aso. Aso is currently the vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and has served as deputy prime minister from 2012-2021 under both the Abe and Suga administrations. He also served as prime minister himself from 2008-2009.
Cheng is the second vice premier to visit Japan since the severing of diplomatic relations in 1972. The only more senior official to visit Japan is Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who visited Japan last year to mourn the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. The last time a vice premier visited Japan was in 1994, during the administration of Lee Tung-hui (李登輝).
Cheng is currently leading a delegation to Japan focused on promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation. He says the purpose of the meeting with Aso was to exchange views on economic matters.
Aso has been a vocal supporter of Taiwan in the Japanese government. In 2021, while serving as deputy prime minister, Aso caused controversy after Kyodo News reported that he said Japan would have to defend Taiwan alongside the United States if it was attacked by China.