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  • President Ma attends reception to commemorate anniversary of Japan's March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami
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President Ma attends reception to commemorate anniversary of Japan's March 11, 2011 earthquake. President Ma attends reception held by Taipei Office of Japan Interchange Association.
President Ma Ying-jeou on the evening of March 12 attended a reception held by the Taipei Office of the Japan Interchange Association to remember the victims of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and to thank Taiwan for the assistance it has provided. The president expressed his profound sadness over the loss of life in the disaster and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. During the reception, the president also announced that Taiwan has decided to immediately lift its travel alert for Fukushima Prefecture, except for the areas within a 30-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. This move will aid in the development of Japan's tourism industry.

President Ma, Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Chin-tien Yang (楊進添), Association of East Asian Relations Chairman Liao Liou-yi (廖了以)—Taiwan's new representative to Japan, outgoing Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳), and Japan Interchange Association Taipei Office Chief Representative Tadashi Imai were among those at the gathering, where a minute of silence was observed in recognition of the victims of the disaster.

In remarks, President Ma commented that a year has gone by since the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The president recalled that when he learned of the earthquake, he immediately placed a call to former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, who was visiting in Taiwan at the time, to express the sympathies of the government and people of the ROC. He also announced that the government would donate NT$100 million to assist in the rescue effort. In the period following, people in Taiwan were eager to make donations. He and his wife also personally took part in a fundraising telethon sponsored by the Red Cross Society. The president said he was deeply moved by the compassion and enthusiasm displayed by the people of Taiwan. In the two months after the disaster, the people of Taiwan made donations of NT$6.6 billion. This not only was the single largest amount of foreign assistance by the people of Taiwan in history, but also constituted the most assistance provided to Japan by any nation.

President Ma stated that the government and people of Japan provided an immediate helping hand to Taiwan after we were hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake on September 21, 1999 and suffered flooding and landslides due to Typhoon Morakot in August 2009. Japan aided Taiwan in its reconstruction and this is something that the people of Taiwan will always remember. The president added that when a friend is facing problems, we of course will make every effort to provide help.

The president expressed his admiration for the people of Japan for their display of calm, solidarity, fortitude, and order during the reconstruction process, serving as an example for others. The president also saluted the Japanese people for committing themselves to the reconstruction process despite their great sadness.

President Ma furthermore mentioned that people from all walks of life in Japan, from both the public and the private sectors and all the way from the prime minister to youth, continue to turn to a variety of avenues to express their gratitude to the people of Taiwan. This unprecedented move exhibits the true feelings that Japan has for Taiwan. The president commented that 66 Japanese parliamentarians visited Taiwan last year to participate in celebrations marking the ROC's Double Tenth National Day. This was the largest such delegation in history and was another testament to the close and friendly relations between Taiwan and Japan.

The president remarked that while the earthquake was of course a great tragedy, yet it is when disasters strike that the people of Taiwan and Japan show their true friendship for each other, coming together to help each other and jointly working to create a better future. President Ma said he hopes that this relationship will continue to be strengthened in the future, thereby creating a mutually beneficial situation for both nations.
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