Taiwan representative in Japan's Osaka commits suicide

TOKYO (Reuters) - One of Taiwan’s representatives stationed in Japan’s western city of Osaka committed suicide this week, the government of the self-ruled island said.

The official had been an excellent diplomat “keen to offer help to junior colleagues”, Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Friday, expressing its “deepest sorrow and regret over the unfortunate incident”.

It added, “Su Chii-cherng committed suicide at his official residence this morning.”

Taiwan’s Premier William Lai was saddened by the news, he said in a statement.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said the 61-year-old had only taken up the Osaka post in July, having previously led the island’s office in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

An official of the Osaka prefectural police declined to comment to Reuters when reached by telephone on Saturday.

Taiwan media said Su had faced harsh criticism over his handling of Taiwan nationals stranded in Japan in the wake of typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 and injured hundreds this month. Thousands were marooned at a flooded airport in Osaka.

Reuters could not independently verify the comments cited by several news groups and published on social media accounts.

Taiwan cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka praised Su’s performance as a diplomat and urged its citizens to give more support and encouragement to frontline diplomats.

Reporting by Mari Saito in TOKYO and Yimou Lee in TAIPEI; Editing by Clarence Fernandez