Taiwan expats in Japan will be registered under the designation Taiwan from July 9 following a revision to the Japanese government’s foreign residency classification policy.
The change, which follows years of lobbying by ROC nationals residing in Japan, was legislated in July 2009 with an amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law.
ROC citizens have been listed under the classification China since 1972 in line with Tokyo’s decision to recognize Beijing as the sole representative of China.
Huang Ming-lung, secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations, welcomed the development and believes it augurs well for the continuing improvement of Taiwan-Japan ties.
Taipei-headquartered AEAR oversees the ROC’s relations with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.
Hiroshi Kimizuka, an official at Japan’s immigration bureau, said the revision does not indicate a shift in government policy on Taiwan; rather it is aimed at providing greater convenience and improving registration management processes.
For Lian Gen-teng, 76, an ROC national with permanent Japanese residency, the change is long overdue and one he has waited almost 50 years to see.
“I’m so happy to be identified as Taiwanese rather than Chinese,” he said while queuing outside the immigration office in Tokyo’s Shinagawa District.