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International relations

Japan and Taiwan lawmakers scramble to fill post-Abe vacuum

Mutual visits aim to strengthen ties in absence of diplomatic relations

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen lays flowers in front of a portrait of the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association office in Taipei on July 11.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Visits to Taiwan by Japanese lawmakers are picking up as the two sides grapple with the absence of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of the strongest advocates of closer cooperation, after his death this month.

"It's rare for lawmakers to visit Taiwan for security purposes," said Shigeru Ishiba, a former secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on Wednesday. "We want to gain knowledge on the ground," he said.

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