President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of November 30 with experts participating in the 31st Sino-Japanese Modern Engineering and Technology Symposium. In addition to praising the symposium as an important platform for its contributions to improved technical exchange between engineers in the two countries, the president also spoke about what the government has done to promote conservation of energy, reduce carbon emissions, utilize green energy, and preserve the environment.
In remarks, President Ma first stated that the distinguished engineers Wu Bo-zhen (吳伯楨), Wang Shu-fang (王樹芳), and Wu Jian-qin (吳劍琴) launched the Sino-Japanese Modern Engineering and Technology Symposium in 1980. Thanks to the continued efforts of experts and scholars, the symposium has become an important platform for professional interaction among engineers in both nations. The symposium this year, noted the president, will have many discussion topics including: conservation of energy and reduction of carbon emissions; urban development with a focus on disaster preparedness; climate change; and sustainable development and business management. In addition, Dr. Masuo Aizawa (former president of the Tokyo Institute of Technology) and Dr. Yen-shiang Shih (施顏祥, former ROC Minister of Economic Affairs) were invited to deliver keynote addresses on the topic of sustainable development, so President Ma expressed hope that the experts attending the symposium would benefit greatly from the proceedings.
Commenting on the government's measures and efforts to reduce carbon emissions, President Ma mentioned that on November 24 and 25 he led a group of cabinet heads and other officials to tour energy facilities around Taiwan, and learned more about what private-sector companies have been doing to conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions, and build green buildings. The government, he said, is making a concerted effort to implement its Low-Carbon and Sustainable Homeland Program. In addition to promulgating the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act this past July, the government last year established four low-carbon cities (New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City, and Yilan County) and two low-carbon islands (Penghu and Kinmen). By 2020, plans call for the island to be divided into four low-carbon living spheres in northern, central, southern, and eastern Taiwan. "We intend to take concrete action to reach our energy conservation and carbon-reduction goals," said the president.
President Ma also mentioned that environmental conditions in Taiwan and Japan are very similar. Both countries, for example, experience frequent earthquakes and typhoons. Taiwan was hit by a massive earthquake on September 21, 1999 and a typhoon of historic severity in August 2009, while Japan suffered a major earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. All of these natural disasters caused devastating loss of life and property. In addition, Taiwan relies on imports for 98% of its power needs, and its isolated power grid means we cannot import electricity from abroad. Taiwan has been paying close attention to changes in Japan's energy policy in the wake of the 2011 earthquake because, said the president, "we could also find ourselves in a similar situation someday." Japan has recently begun generating electric power using solar panels floating on the surface of a water reservoir, and Taiwan is very interested in the efficiency of this approach and how it may affect overall energy policy. Hopefully the example of Japan's experience, the president stated, will enable us to create an environment for our people that features low-carbon green energy and sustainable development.
The visiting delegation included more than 70 people, including delegation head Kenji Yamaji, delegation administrator Yoshimasa Tokuyama, and Masuo Aizawa (Professor Emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology). The delegation was escorted to the Presidential Office Building by President John Chien-Chung Li (李建中) of the Chinese Institute of Engineers and Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁).