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Taiwan

Taiwanese official criticised for handling of Typhoon Jebi evacuation found dead in Osaka

Su Chii-cherng, 61, whose office was at centre of social media storm, found hanged at his home, news agency says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 September, 2018, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 September, 2018, 10:20pm

A leading Taiwanese diplomat in Osaka whose office was criticised for its handling of requests for help from Taiwanese people in the Japanese city when it was hit by Typhoon Jebi last week was found dead on Friday morning in an apparent suicide.

Su Chii-cherng, 61, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka, was found hanged at his home in Osaka, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported, citing unnamed sources.

Su’s office was responsible for providing help to Taiwanese whose trips were affected by the closure of Osaka’s Kansai International Airport when its runways flooded and a bridge linking it to the mainland was damaged after being hit by a tanker that was battling the storm.

Social media users accused the office of weakness in failing to provide timely support to the people who were stranded.

Taiwan’s representative to Japan Frank Hsieh has travelled to Osaka to deal with the matter, the news agency reported.

Taiwan’s cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said the island’s government was saddened by Su’s death, and described him as an “excellent diplomat”.

Taiwan’s Premier William Lai had asked the foreign ministry to provide help to Su’s family and appealed to the public to support the work of the island’s diplomats, Yotaka said.

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The foreign ministry in Taipei said Su was a dedicated and hardworking diplomat who served Taiwan unfailingly throughout his career. He took up the post in Osaka in July.

Taiwanese officials in Japan are expected to meet in Osaka on Saturday to review the situation, the report said.

Mainland media reported last week that Taiwanese tourists stranded in Osaka were asked to say whether they considered themselves Chinese before being allowed to board buses provided by Beijing’s consular office in the city.

If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.