Tags: China | japan | yoshihide suga | taiwan | prime minister | nobuo kishi

Japan's New PM Shakes China by Naming Pro-Taiwan Defense Chief

defense minister nobuo kishi stands at a podium next to the japanese flag
Newly appointed Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi delivers a speech during a press conference at the Prime Minister's office in Tokyo on Wednesday. (Charly Triballeau/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 17 September 2020 06:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Days after becoming Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga sent shock waves to China with his appointment Thursday of a defense minister well-known as a friend of Taiwan.

The new defense minister is Nobuo Kishi, vice minister of foreign affairs and younger brother of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Kishi took the name of their grandfather Nobosuke Kishi, who served as prime minister from 1957-60.)

Almost immediately following the announcement of Kishi's appointment, the Chinese government issued a statement voicing hope the new Japanese government would not establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

As a member of the Diet (parliament), Kishi, 61, chaired a group of lawmakers seeking to promote economic and cultural exchanges with Taiwan. According to Japan Times, "Kishi has over the years served as a liaison with Taiwan officials, a role that culminated with the initiative he took in arranging then-opposition leader [now President] Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with Abe in his hometown of Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2015."

China is cautious about this move.

"Nobuo Kishi has had a very close relationship with Taiwan by visiting frequently with Taiwan's government," Satoshi Sam Nishihata of the on-line publication "Liberty Web" told Newsmax. "He represented Japan's favorable attitude toward Taiwan on behalf of his brother. It has been well known in the Taiwan government."

For its part, the Taiwan government issued no formal statement about Kishi's appointment but sources close to it told Newsmax they were "delighted" with the news.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Days after becoming Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga sent shock waves to China with his appointment Thursday of a defense minister well-known as a friend of Taiwan.
japan, yoshihide suga, taiwan, prime minister, nobuo kishi
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2020-11-17
Thursday, 17 September 2020 06:11 PM
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