Taiwan News reports that Japanese PM Abe is felt by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be a friend of Taiwan….

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed the hope Thursday that Taiwan’s relations with Japan will further develop under the leadership of incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

MOFA deputy spokesman Wang Chien-yeh noted that Abe, currently chief Cabinet secretary to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, has maintained good interactions with Taiwan over the past years.

For example, Abe has exerted his influence to facilitate visits to Japan by former ROC President Lee Teng-hui and the granting of visa-free treatment to Taiwan tourists, Wang said.

Abe was elected president of the Liberal Democratic Party Wednesday and is expected to be elected the next prime minister Sept.

Abe has said before that he would like to “normalize” visits between the two countries.