On the morning of May 6, President Tsai Ing-wen met via videoconference with Japanese House of Representatives Member Ogura Masanobu, director of the Youth Division of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and members of his delegation. During the meeting, President Tsai thanked Japan for publicly supporting Taiwan's international participation on many occasions and for showing its friendship by donating vaccines to Taiwan during the pandemic.
Stating that Russia's invasion of Ukraine reflects the importance of democratic countries' resolutely coming together to confront authoritarianism, the president expressed optimism that Taiwan and Japan will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation across all parts of our relationship, from the public to the private sectors, and said she hopes that the Taiwanese and Japanese peoples will continue to help each other through every challenge the future brings.
In her remarks, President Tsai first conveyed her regrets that, aside from Chief Representative Izumi Hiroyasu [of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association], she was unable to meet with some other members of the group at the Presidential Office due to a positive COVID-19 test result. The president said she was nevertheless happy to speak with the members via videoconference, and expressed her concern and wishes for a prompt recovery for delegation member Representative Nishino Daisuke.
Noting that the members of the delegation had two days earlier (on May 4) visited the tomb of late President Lee Teng-hui to pay their respects, President Tsai observed that the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association had released a statement describing the solemnity and warmth of the occasion and highlighting its symbolism for the enduring friendship between Taiwan and Japan. The president further stated that President Lee's resolute pursuit of freedom and democracy is a conviction that Taiwan and Japan are working together to uphold.
President Tsai also pointed out that members of the delegation were planning to visit the site of a former kimono store in Keelung opened by the great-grandfather of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, describing it as a meaningful visit that attests to the resilient Taiwan-Japan friendship built on many layers from the past to the present. The president also thanked Japan once again for showing its friendship by donating over 4.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan over the course of the pandemic, and for publicly expressing its support for Taiwan's international participation on many occasions.
President Tsai mentioned that, in order to further integrate itself into the international economy, Taiwan has formally submitted an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and has completed a number of legal and regulatory amendments demonstrating our determination to meet the trade agreement's standards while also removing restrictions on imports of food products from Fukushima Prefecture and its surrounding region. The president said we will continue to optimize relevant legislative and market measures, and asked the members of the delegation to maintain their support for Taiwan's international participation.
President Tsai stated that Russia's invasion of Ukraine highlights the importance of democratic countries' resolutely coming together to confront authoritarianism, and said that, in her videoconference with former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan this past March, former Prime Minister Abe once again made clear that "if Taiwan has a problem, then Japan has a problem, and the Japan-US alliance also has a problem." The president also expressed how moved we were that Chairman Furuya Keiji of the Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council, in a letter to her the day before, again referenced that March videoconference and reiterated his support for Taiwan.
President Tsai welcomed comments made just earlier by Prime Minister Kishida, who is currently visiting the United Kingdom, in which he said that Japan will continue to monitor peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and stated that attempts to change the status quo by the use of force in the Indo-Pacific, especially in East Asia, will never be tolerated.
Emphasizing that Taiwan and Japan hold key strategic and geopolitical importance, President Tsai said that the security of the entire region must be considered from an overarching perspective, and expressed optimism that Taiwan and Japan would continue to strive together to uphold peace in the Indo-Pacific region. The president added that Taiwan will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation with Japan across all parts of our relationship, from the public to the private sectors, and said she hopes that the Taiwanese and Japanese peoples will continue to support and help each other through every challenge the future brings.
In closing, President Tsai again thanked the members of the delegation for visiting Taiwan, saying that though she regrets not being able to listen to their views in person because of COVID-19, she hopes to once again welcome the delegation to Taiwan after the pandemic subsides.
Representative Ogura then delivered remarks, expressing regret at being unable to meet in person with President Tsai because one of the delegation members tested positive for COVID-19, and thanking the president for the warm reception she gave Representatives Suzuki Norikazu and Suzuki Hayato of the delegation the previous day at the Presidential Office.
Recalling that the first time he met President Tsai was at her inauguration in 2016, Representative Ogura said that the past six years have been a testament to her strong leadership, and expressed his utmost respect for the remarkable development in terms of political stability and the economy that Taiwan has enjoyed under President Tsai's leadership.
Representative Ogura expressed great concern over the constant incursions that Chinese military aircraft have recently been making into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, and said that threats to Taiwan’s security would also affect the security of Japan and the Japan-US alliance.
Representative Ogura mentioned that, prior to his visit to Taiwan, he discussed trilateral Japan-Taiwan-US relations with former Prime Minister Abe, who expressed hope that the members of Japan's National Diet take concrete action on this front. Representative Ogura also noted that, in July last year, legislators from Japan, the US, and Taiwan convened a meeting on relevant issues, and said he hopes to make a contribution in this area in the future.
Representative Ogura concluded by stating that the government of Prime Minister Kishida is very friendly and close to Taiwan, and said he hopes to continue doing his part to contribute to the friendship between Japan and Taiwan.
Junior Chamber International (JCI) Japan National President Nakashima Tsuchi then delivered remarks, in which he noted that JCI Japan and JCI Taiwan have concluded many partnership agreements, with 75 partner chambers on both sides since the first such partnership was established 60 years ago, and stated that JCI Japan has been conducting these kinds of grassroots, people-to-people exchanges ever since. Saying that the main members of the organization love Taiwan, he expressed hope that many more people in Japan and around the world can support Taiwan, and that these friends of Taiwan can help promote ties between Taiwan and Japan.
Representative Yamaguchi Susumu, deputy head of the LDP Youth Division's International Department, also delivered remarks, in which he highlighted his knowledge of the energy sector as well as his keen and longstanding interest in energy security, and said he hopes to conduct exchanges with Taiwan on related issues going forward.
During the meeting, President Tsai expressed concern for the health of Representative Nishino Daisuke, who earlier tested positive for COVID-19, and who replied that he was having no problems whatsoever.
Representative Nishino said that, before his departure for Taiwan, Governor Kabashima Ikuo of Kumamoto Prefecture had asked him to again thank Taiwan for donating relief funds to Kumamoto in the wake of natural disasters, and conveyed his gratitude to the president and the people of Taiwan on behalf of the governor of Kumamoto.
Also in attendance at the virtual meeting was Chief Representative Izumi Hiroyasu of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.