President Tsai Ing-wen met with Mr. Hiroyasu Izumi, the new Chief Representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office on the afternoon of November 14. The president stated that cooperation and trade exchanges between Taiwan and Japan have become increasingly close over the past three years; Taiwan is currently Japan's fourth largest trading partner, and Japan is Taiwan's third largest. Given the current global economic recession, she said, now is a good time for Taiwan and Japan to discuss Taiwan's admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which would facilitate Japan's effort to expand its overseas markets and achieve better balance among them.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
A few days ago, I went to a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the Formosa 1 offshore wind farm, and Mr. Izumi was also in attendance. Today, I am happy to welcome Mr. Izumi at the Presidential Office as he begins his new post as Chief Representative. We look forward to working with him and continuing to enhance the partnership between Taiwan and Japan.
Mr. Izumi has a wealth of diplomatic experience, having previously served in the United Kingdom, China, and the United States. We are confident that his posting to Taiwan will be an unforgettable experience for him. I am told that very soon after arriving in Taiwan, Mr. Izumi took note of Taiwan's cultural diversity. He mentioned on Facebook that he enjoys Taiwanese cuisine every day, and especially likes beef noodles.
I would also recommend Mr. Izumi to try out Taiwan's many pork dishes, including minced pork over rice, broiled pork chop with rice, and braised pork belly over rice. These are all well-known Taiwanese dishes. In addition to enjoying Taiwan's delicacies, if he has the time, we welcome him to travel around Taiwan to experience our different customs, cultures, and scenic beauty.
Recently, a typhoon hit the Kanto and Tohoku regions of Japan and caused torrential rains, resulting in major damage. And a fire gutted a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the Shurijo Castle in Okinawa. Taiwanese people were saddened by those disasters. I want to once again express our sympathy and condolences.
Every time Taiwan or Japan encounters disasters, the people in the other country have always reached out to help their friends overcome difficult times. Volunteers from Taiwan traveled to Miyagi Prefecture earlier this year to help with the post-typhoon recovery effort, and my fellow citizens generously donated funds to support reconstruction after many of the main buildings at Shurijo Castle burnt down. Such friendship transcends politics and national boundaries. We hope our two countries can continue enhancing disaster relief training and cooperation.
Cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Japan have become increasingly close over the past three years. This past March, Japan jointly hosted an international workshop under the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework for the first time. Last month, Taiwan also invited Japanese officials to participate in the first Taiwan-US Pacific Islands Dialogue. Taiwan-Japan relations are continually progressing, and now that we are able to work together with Mr. Izumi, I am sure we can look forward to further progress.
In our trade relations, for example, Taiwan is currently Japan's fourth largest trading partner, and Japan is Taiwan's third largest. At a time of global economic recession, now is a good time for Taiwan and Japan to discuss Taiwan's admission to the CPTPP, which would facilitate Japan's effort to expand its overseas markets and achieve better balance among them. We hope to see bilateral cooperation between our two countries move in this direction.
This year is the first year of Japan's Reiwa era. As Japan enters into this new era, we welcome Mr. Izumi to his new post in Taiwan and wish him the best of success. We also look forward to working with him to continue to reach new milestones on the path toward stronger Taiwan-Japan relations.