President Tsai Ing-wen met with Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi on the morning of December 3. She mentioned that the 44th Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Meeting held a month ago in Tokyo achieved outstanding results, and the two countries signed four MOUs covering areas such as environmental protection and promotion of the import and export of organic foods. She expressed hope that with Chairman Ohashi's assistance and support, we can realize the discussion of Taiwan's admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), so that the Taiwan-Japan partnership will grow deeper and more comprehensive, and we can jointly respond to the various challenges we face within our region.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Yesterday we held the fourth Taiwan-Japan Maritime Affairs Cooperation Dialogue, and I want to welcome Chairman Ohashi to Taiwan for the meeting. The last time I saw Chairman Ohashi was this past July, and in the blink of an eye, it is already December.
Exchanges between Taiwan and Japan are very close. This year, in addition to Chairman Ohashi, I have also met with many distinguished guests from Japan. It is the high season for Japanese students' overseas study tours, and we thank Japanese high schools for making Taiwan their number one destination. Among the more than 150,000 Japanese students participating in those tours each year, over 53,000 of them come to Taiwan.
We attach great importance to bilateral youth exchanges and will continue to promote them. This year's two-way travel between Taiwan and Japan has reached nearly 6.8 million arrivals, and at the current rate of increase, it may well surpass 7 million arrivals by the end of this year, a new all-time high.
Chairman Ohashi knows better than anyone about the breakthroughs and progress that we have achieved over the past several years in Taiwan-Japan exchanges, as he has played an important role in promoting them. We achieved outstanding results at the 44th Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Meeting held a month ago in Tokyo, signing four MOUs covering areas such as environmental protection and promotion of the import and export of organic foods. I want to thank Chairman Ohashi for his hard work and contributions to enhancing Taiwan-Japan relations.
Today is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 2,900th day in office, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the prime minister for becoming the longest-serving prime minister in Japan's history. I would also like to thank Prime Minister Abe for his many years of friendship and support for Taiwan. His efforts have brought about increasingly close cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. We hope that the Taiwan-Japan partnership will grow deeper and more comprehensive, so that we can respond together to the various challenges we face within our region.
Given recent international economic and trade conditions, and in light of the mutually beneficial economic and trade ties between Taiwan and Japan, we feel confident that now is an excellent time for our two countries to discuss Taiwan's admission to the CPTPP. This will help enhance our partnership and facilitate Japan's efforts to expand its overseas markets and achieve better balance among them. I look forward to Chairman Ohashi's assistance and support so that we can achieve this objective together.
Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office Chief Representative Hiroyasu Izumi was also present at the meeting.