President Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of May 19 with Japanese management guru Dr. Kenichi Ohmae and representatives of the Koken-Kai, a study group for Japanese company owners and business executives . The president expressed a warm welcome to the visitors on their trip to Taiwan.
President Ma remarked that people in Taiwan were deeply concerned by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 this year. The government here dispatched a rescue team to Japan shortly after the disaster, he said. Meanwhile, as of May 18, the amount of funds donated by people here to the rescue and relief effort has reached about NT$6 billion (roughly JPY16.8 billion), while over 560 tonnes of material goods have been donated. This is the largest amount of disaster assistance ever provided externally by Taiwan, he remarked, which attests to the deep and close relations between the two countries.
The president commented that Dr. Ohmae began following Taiwan's economic development 20 years ago and over this period has continued to provide many pragmatic and effective suggestions. In a speech entitled "New Era, New Asia, New Taiwan " in 2008, Dr. Ohmae recommended that Taiwan take advantage of its IT industry and develop into East Asia's Silicon Valley. He also suggested development of a unique tourism industry. Dr. Ohmae, the president noted, stressed that Taiwan's "six major emerging industries" initiative should emphasize smart industries and seek to build Taiwan into a nation that is designed to meet the needs of its populace. The ideas expressed by Dr. Ohmae have provided tremendous food for thought, the president said.
President Ma mentioned that prior to the signing of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) on June 29 last year, Dr. Ohmae was invited to appear at the monthly meeting held at the Presidential Office and deliver a speech on global economic development trends and the outlook for cross-strait cooperative relations. During the address, said the president, Dr. Ohmae stressed that the ECFA constitutes a "vitamin" and Taiwan should make the best of this opportunity to change its economic and trade status in the Asia-Pacific region. President Ma added that the address was front page news in the local media the following day. In the wake of the signing of the ECFA, the president said that Dr. Ohmae's prediction has been realized in that the agreement has not only aided cross-strait trade, but also has yielded benefits for trade between Taiwan and the United States, Japan, Europe, and ASEAN nations.
The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真).