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President Tsai meets Japan's LDP Youth Division delegation
President Tsai meets Japan's LDP Youth Division delegation

On the morning of May 5, President Tsai Ing-wen met with members of a delegation from Japan's Liberal Democratic Party Youth Division, all of whom are also members of Japan's House of Representatives, and thanked the government of Japan, the Diet, and Japanese political figures for supporting Taiwan's international participation on many occasions. In remarks, President Tsai noted that Taiwan had formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and that we have shown our determination to meet the high standards of this agreement by working to optimize the relevant legislative and market measures. The president also expressed hope that the members of the delegation would continue to support Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP. President Tsai said that as we face the expansion of authoritarianism around the world, Taiwan will work together with Japan and our democratic partners to further contribute to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I want to begin by welcoming the members of the delegation to the Presidential Office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time in nearly three years that a delegation from the LDP Youth Division has visited Taiwan, giving us the opportunity to once again meet face-to-face.

I was just informed that a member of the delegation has tested positive for COVID-19, preventing him and other members of the delegation in his group from joining us today. I hope that he gets well soon and wish you all the best of health. 

Over the past few years, exchanges between Taiwan and Japan have grown closer across a broad range of fields, and the friendship between our peoples has also grown deeper. This has been especially true in the fight against the pandemic. Japan has shown its friendship by donating more than 4.2 million vaccine doses to Taiwan, while Taiwan has donated disease prevention supplies and medical devices to Japan. This type of mutual support has helped us create a virtuous cycle of assistance, clearly demonstrating the friendship that exists between Taiwan and Japan.

I also want to thank the Japanese government, the Diet, and many Japanese political figures for publicly expressing support for Taiwan's international participation on numerous occasions, and for the importance you have placed on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan formally applied in September of last year to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and early this year we completed amendments to our "Patent Act," "Copyright Act," and "Trademark Act" to demonstrate our determination to meet the rigorous trade standards of this agreement.

Going forward, we will continue to optimize our legislative and market measures, as we work to gain admission to the CPTPP. Meanwhile, I would like to ask the delegation members to continue supporting Taiwan's international participation. Taiwan is willing and able to fulfill its responsibilities as a member of the international community, whether that be through participation in the CPTPP, ICAO, UNFCCC, INTERPOL, or the WHA, which is coming up later this month. We are also prepared to share our experiences and exchange views with other countries.

Now, as we are faced with expanding global authoritarianism, Taiwan stands at the very frontline of the defense of democracy, and we will continue cooperating with democratic allies to uphold the values of freedom and democracy.

This past March, I took part in a virtual dialogue with former Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo, who reiterated at the time that if Taiwan has a problem, then Japan has a problem, and the Japan-US alliance also has a problem. This idea has sparked a lot of discussion in Japan, and is also a matter of great interest in Taiwan. Matters of national security, whether in Taiwan or in Japan, involve more than just a single country, and should be thought of in terms of the first island chain while taking a geopolitical perspective. This is why the Taiwan-Japan relationship is so close and so important.

Taiwan will continue to work together with Japan to contribute further to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Lastly, I want to welcome you all once again. You are all dear friends to Taiwan, and key supporters of Taiwan-Japan relations. With your support, I am confident that our bilateral friendship will only grow closer and firmer. Thank you!

Japanese House of Representatives Member Suzuki Norikazu then delivered remarks on behalf of the director of the LDP Youth Division, in which he thanked President Tsai for taking the time to meet with the delegation and for extending such a warm welcome amid the serious challenges posed by the pandemic.

Representative Suzuki said that the exchanges and mutual understanding between the peoples of Taiwan and Japan have deepened our friendship despite the severity of the pandemic. Noting that Japan had provided vaccines to Taiwan, and that Taiwan had likewise provided Japan with masks and medical supplies at a very early stage of the pandemic, he stated that the trust between our countries and the friendship between our peoples have continued to deepen.  

Acknowledging President Tsai's earlier comments, in which she mentioned that a member of the delegation had unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 and expressed her concern, Representative Suzuki further noted that the members of his delegation had found welcome notes and specially prepared bubble tea and pineapple cakes from the president upon entering their hotel rooms in Taipei, and once again expressed thanks for the considerate and welcoming arrangements made for the delegation.

Representative Suzuki expressed his belief that his delegation's visit to Taiwan to exchange views and engage with people across Taiwanese society carries considerable meaning, coming amid the Russia-Ukraine war and a very tense international landscape. He emphasized that Japan will absolutely not allow the use of force by certain countries to unilaterally change the status quo, and expressed hope that Taiwan and Japan can strengthen bilateral cooperation in related fields.

Representative Suzuki stated that Taiwan is a neighbor of Japan, and that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is therefore a matter of Japan's own peace and stability, saying that the members of his delegation, as young Japanese politicians, would carry on their work with this idea in mind.

Discussing the CPTPP, Representative Suzuki noted that this rigorous and cooperative trade framework centered on the Asia-Pacific region holds considerable strategic significance, and that Taiwan is actively working to amend domestic laws and regulations in order to join the CPTPP, overcoming many difficult obstacles along the way. Representative Suzuki stated that the LDP Youth Division has consistently expressed support for Taiwan's inclusion in the CPTPP, and looks forward to Taiwan completing the remaining legal and regulatory amendments necessary for its accession.

Representative Suzuki said that, while the current global pandemic situation remains very severe, we also have many other challenges to address, such as climate change, which is an issue that cannot be resolved by any individual country, but requires an international vision that brings all the nations of the world together. Representative Suzuki added that the LDP Youth Division has also consistently expressed support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations such as the WHO and ICAO, and will work even harder in the future to promote opportunities for Taiwan to participate in these organizations.

Noting that he represents Yamagata Prefecture in northeastern Japan, made famous by the television show Oshin, Representative Suzuki expressed his gratitude to the government of Taiwan for removing restrictions on food products from that region, as well as his hope that other issues can also be promptly resolved under President Tsai's leadership. 

Representative Suzuki then mentioned that the delegation had visited the grave of late President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) the day before to pay their respects. Representative Suzuki stated that President Lee had long helped guide those working to advance Taiwan-Japan relations and made great contributions toward this relationship. Representative Suzuki said he hopes that the next generation can maintain this firm friendship, and that the LDP Youth Division will actively work to ensure that this is the case.

Representative Suzuki concluded his remarks by expressing hope that the pandemic soon recedes and that Taiwan and Japan can resume normal exchanges. He personally delivered a letter to President Tsai from Chairman Furuya Keiji of the Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council.

Also present at the meeting were Japanese House of Representatives Member Suzuki Hayato and Chief Representative Izumi Hiroyasu of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

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