President Tsai Ing-wen met on the afternoon of August 9 with a delegation from Japan, and thanked them for making a special trip to Taiwan to pay their respects to former President Lee Teng-hui. President Tsai also expressed hope that Taiwan and Japan will have even more opportunities for cooperation in information sharing about the pandemic, research and development of vaccines and drugs, and exchanges of medical professionals, and that the Taiwan-Japan friendship will also continue to deepen.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
I would like to thank you all for making a special trip to Taiwan today to express condolences on the passing of former President Lee. Current measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have affected the itinerary, which I hope you can all understand.
First, I want to thank former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. I know that you treasure human relationships, and that your efforts enabled former President Lee to visit Japan after leaving office. I also want to thank three good friends that I meet with often: Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council Chair Keiji Furuya, and House of Representatives Members Nobuo Kishi and Seishiro Eto, along with all of our honored guests. The people of Taiwan deeply appreciate your long-term support for and contributions to Taiwan-Japan relations.
Like all of our guests, many members of the public have recently made a special trip to the Taipei Guest House to pay their respects to former President Lee. President Lee led Taiwan out of authoritarian rule to become a free and democratic country, and many people remember him fondly.
Taiwan-Japan relations were extremely important to former President Lee, and after leaving office, he was devoted to promoting our bilateral friendship. Over the past few years his efforts, along with yours, have significantly improved Taiwan-Japan relations. The number of Japanese tourists coming to Taiwan, the number of Taiwanese visiting Japan, and the mutual goodwill between our citizens are all growing.
For instance, I sometimes post on Twitter in Japanese, and those Tweets always get many responses from Japanese netizens. A few days ago, I was also on the cover of a Japanese manga magazine. That was a bit unexpected.
I have also noticed that Chief Representative Hiroyasu Izumi of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office often uses Mandarin on Facebook to make candid comments about his experiences. I am sure that these examples all reflect the continued deepening of Taiwan-Japan relations, both online and in everyday life.
During the current pandemic, there has also been a lot of official cooperation between Taiwan and Japan. That includes issues related to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and charter flights out of Peru, India, Fiji, and Russia, all situations that testify to the deep friendship between Taiwan and Japan. Our next issue is the two Japanese nationals in Tuvalu who want to return home, and we are more than happy to provide assistance.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi for speaking out on many occasions to support Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, I hope that Taiwan and Japan will have even more opportunities for cooperation in information sharing about the pandemic, research and development of vaccines and drugs, and exchanges of medical professionals.
The Tokyo Olympics, which were originally supposed to be held right now, have been postponed because of the pandemic. I am sure that many of our good friends are disappointed, especially the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee Chairman, former Prime Minister Mori, who has devoted so much time and energy to holding the games.
We hope with all our hearts that with the concerted efforts of all countries, the pandemic can be brought under control as soon as possible so that the Olympic Games can be held next summer. At that time, the government and people of Taiwan will make every effort to support next year's Tokyo Olympics, and I hope that the Taiwan-Japan friendship will also continue to deepen.
Following President Tsai's speech, former Prime Minister Mori spoke on behalf of the visiting delegation, expressing thanks to the Taiwan government and related organizations for their best efforts in making the necessary arrangements. For this visit, he said, the delegation was organized by Japan's ruling and opposition parties, and includes Diet members from multiple parties who have come to Taiwan together to pay their respects to former President Lee, which has a special significance in light of the severity of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Former Prime Minister Mori also conveyed condolences on the passing of former President Lee from current Prime Minister Abe, who expressed his thanks and admiration for the former president's lifelong contributions to Taiwan-Japan relations. Mr. Mori closed his remarks with the hope that President Tsai will enjoy good health, Taiwan's development will proceed to the next level, and that the bilateral friendship between Taiwan and Japan will continue for all time.
During the proceedings, former Prime Minister Mori mentioned that he purchased a manga magazine featuring President Tsai on the cover at a convenience store in Tokyo the previous day, and presented it to her as a souvenir.
Also included in the delegation were House of Representatives members Tomita Shigeyuki, Masaharu Nakagawa, Yasuhide Nakayama, and Akihisa Nagashima; Councillors Kazuya Shimba and Ishii Akira; President Yasuaki Tanizaki of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association; and Chief Representative Izumi. The visitors were accompanied to the Presidential Office by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Taiwan-Japan Relations Association President Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) to meet President Tsai. Also attending the meeting was Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維).