Japan's vice foreign minister protests Chinese ambassador's remarks on Taiwan

Japan's Foreign Ministry says it has lodged a stern protest with the Chinese ambassador over his recent remarks that Japanese people would be dragged into fire if Japan supports Taiwan's independence.

A Foreign Ministry official told a Lower House committee on Friday that Vice-Minister Okano Masataka delivered the protest to Ambassador Wu Jianghao in person.

Wu made the comment at a forum held at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo on May 20, after Taiwan inaugurated Lai Ching-te as its new president.

Wu criticized a cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers for attending the inauguration ceremony, saying it was an open attempt to support what he called "Taiwan independence separatists."

He went on to say that Japanese people would be dragged into fire, if Japan ties itself to forces plotting to split China. The ambassador made similar comments at a news conference in April last year.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko told the Lower House committee session it is extremely inappropriate that Ambassador Wu has made such remarks twice.

But Kamikawa declined to comment when asked if Wu should be declared "persona non grata" and told to leave the country as an unwelcome diplomat.