Taiwan representative in Osaka dead by reported suicide

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's representative in the Japanese city of Osaka has died by suicide, the island's official news agency reported Friday.

The foreign ministry tweeted that Su Chii-cherng had passed away, calling him a "dedicated and hardworking diplomat."

However, the Central News Agency says the 61-year-old was found dead after hanging himself in his residence.

The death comes a day before the heads of Taiwan's six representative offices in Japan were due to gather for a meeting to discuss their handling of requests for assistance from Taiwanese trapped in Japan after flooding caused by Typhoon Jebi. The storm closed Kansai International Airport, one of Japan's busiest and a gateway for Asian tourists visiting Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, on Sept. 4.

Some on social media had accused the representative offices of failing to provide the needed help.

Self-governing Taiwan has robust but unofficial relations with Japan at the insistence of China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory.

Chinese diplomatic pressure on other nations has severely limited the number of offices Taiwan is able to maintain, and with it, the island's ability to aid its citizens in times of crises.

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