City unaccountable for EasyCard decision: Ko
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) yesterday refused to get involved in the growing controversy behind an EasyCard Corp. limited edition card covers which will feature Japanese porn star Yui Hatano ( ).
“Whether or not the card covers are to be sold is a decision to be made by EasyCard Corp. itself,” the mayor said.
Ko said that even as the largest shareholder, the city has no direct control over the company’s decisions. The city government is currently the largest single stakeholder of the company, owning a 40 percent stake. However, the remaining 60 percent is owned by other private companies. As such, Ko said he could not handle mat- ters of the company on a case by case basis, stating that it is up to the company’s chairman to report to its board of directors.
Remarking that 60 percent of EasyCard’s profits eventually are forked over to private interests, Ko said he reasoned with the current co-chairman of the company Tai Chi-chuan ( ) that it should prioritize business revenue over generating profits.
Ko stated that the company’s composite structure of public and private interests was something that would need to be clarified in the future, especially following the controversy regarding Hatano’s branding on a publicly controlled asset.
City Councillors Say No to Sale
Meanwhile a number
the city’s councillors called on EasyCard not to proceed with the planned sale of the Hatano card covers in September. In a joint press conference with Taiwan Women’s Link ( ) and End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism Taiwan ( ECPAT,
), Councilwoman Chien Shupei ( ) said that selling such cards amounted to discriminating against women and making them into sex objects. She added that the city could learn from marketing techniques used by the Kaohsiung-based iPASS system (
). Councilman Liang Wen-chieh ( ) gathered a petition of 15 Democratic Progressive Party councilors to also demand that EasyCard hold off on the sale. Lawmakers who signed the peti- tion also demanded to know which charitable foundations the proceeds of the sale would be directed to.
EasyCard later indicated that the three foundations would include: The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (
), Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation (
) and the Taiwan Access for All Association (
Balk on Sales
Convenience stores 7-Eleven (
), OK Mart ( ) and FamilyMart ( ) have all at least temporarily put off selling the Hatano EasyCards, while HiLife ( ) will announce its decision on sales next week.
Taipei City Councilwoman Chien Shu-pei speaks at a press conference, yesterday. Chien and other women’s groups urged EasyCard Corp. not to go ahead with a planned sale of EasyCard covers featuring Japanese porn star Yui Hatano, saying that it discriminates against women and sexually objectifies them.