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Japan vice minister officially visits Taiwan

Island receives highest-level government official from Japan since 1972

Jiro Akama, parliamentary vice-minister of internal affairs and communications

TAIPEI -- A Japanese vice minister's visit to Taiwan may test Beijing's patience.

Jiro Akama, parliamentary vice-minister of internal affairs and communications, said on Saturday that Taiwan is a wonderful partner for Japan. He was speaking at the opening ceremony of a tourism event showcasing Japan's smaller municipalities.

Akama is the highest-level government official to officially visit Taiwan since Japan broke diplomatic ties with the republic in 1972.

Beijing has remained nervous about Taiwan's international relations, citing its "One China" policy. Akama's visit is a sign of the emphasis that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration places on Taiwan.

After the ceremony, Akama said Japan-China ties will remain among his country's most important bilateral relations. He also showed his consideration for China by stressing that Japan and Taiwan will continue to promote private-sector exchanges.

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