On the afternoon of December 10, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Hagiuda Koichi, member of the Japanese House of Representatives and chairperson of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). During the meeting, President Tsai said that Taiwan-Japan relations are growing increasingly close. At many important international venues, the president said, the Japanese government has emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and has called on the international community to also recognize the importance of its security. The president added that going forward, Taiwan will continue to strengthen cooperation with Japan in security and other fields as we work together to promote a free, open, and stable Indo-Pacific region.
In remarks, President Tsai noted that a forum on Japan-Taiwan relations was scheduled to take place the following day, and welcomed Chairperson Hagiuda and his delegation's visit to Taiwan and their participation in the forum. She stated that the last time a chairperson of the LDP Policy Research Council had visited Taiwan was 19 years earlier, which made this visit especially meaningful.
The president noted that Chairperson Hagiuda has visited Taiwan several times before, and said she is very happy to see him again and is looking forward to his speech at the forum the following day. She also expressed her belief that the exchanges at this forum will help to promote bilateral cooperation and friendship.
President Tsai said that Chairperson Hagiuda is a good friend of Taiwan's, just as former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo of Japan had been. She said that Taiwan was deeply saddened at the former prime minister's passing, and sent a delegation to attend his state funeral. The president thanked Japan for its arrangements on that occasion, and said that Prime Minister Abe's belief in the friendship between our countries will be carried on thanks to the support of Chairperson Hagiuda.
President Tsai mentioned that earlier this month the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association celebrated its 50th anniversary, and just a few days ago Taiwan joined the United States, Australia, and Japan in holding a Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) Joint Committee meeting. GCTF workshops next year, she said, will continue to bolster cooperation on such matters as the pandemic, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response.
The president said that the partnership between Taiwan and Japan has grown increasingly close in recent years, and noted that the Japanese government has at many important international venues emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, calling on the international community to also recognize the importance of its security. In this regard, she thanked Japan for valuing and supporting Taiwan. She added that going forward, Taiwan will continue to strengthen cooperation with Japan in security and other fields as we work together to promote a free, open, and stable Indo-Pacific region.
Recalling that when she met with Chairperson Hagiuda in 2015, his delegation expressed concern about restrictions on food imports from Japan, the president stated that this past February Taiwan announced the easing of restrictions on food imports from Fukushima and four other prefectures. She added that besides representing a step forward in Taiwan-Japan relations, this action showed that Taiwan is willing to accept international standards and is determined to resolve trade issues.
President Tsai emphasized that Taiwan will continue actively seeking admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as well as related regional economic and trade cooperation mechanisms. She expressed hope that the government of Japan, the Diet, and people across Japanese society will continue to show their support for this, so that Taiwan and Japan can work together to bring prosperity and development to the region.
The president again welcomed Chairperson Hagiuda and his delegation to Taiwan and wished them success at the following day's forum.
Chairperson Hagiuda then delivered remarks, saying that for Japan, Taiwan is an important partner that shares their commitment to the universal values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. He also mentioned that reciprocal visits are quite frequent and that our two countries often engage in cooperation. The chairperson noted that he last visited Taiwan four years ago, and that it had been 19 years since the last visit from the LDP Policy Research Council. As this year marks the 50th anniversaries of both the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association and the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, he said he felt honored to be able to visit Taiwan at this time.
Chairperson Hagiuda mentioned that after former Prime Minister Abe's tragic passing in July, Taiwan's Vice President Lai Ching-te personally attended his family funeral service, while former Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and others attended the former prime minister's state funeral, and many Taiwanese people living in Japan also showed up near the site of the state funeral to pay their final respects. Chairperson Hagiuda extended his gratitude to the people of Taiwan for the deep affection they showed.
Chairperson Hagiuda stated that former Prime Minister Abe had originally planned to visit Taiwan this past September and had expressed a strong desire to pay his respects at the grave of former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), but Mr. Abe was unfortunately not able to realize this dream. Chairperson Hagiuda said that he will therefore visit President Lee's grave the next day on former Prime Minister Abe's behalf.
Noting that the following day's forum on Japan-Taiwan relations will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Taiwan and Japan adopting a new model for bilateral relations, Chairperson Hagiuda said that our two countries have built a very solid relationship based on trust and friendship. As we look back over the past 50 years, he said, our first step into the next 50 years of bilateral ties is very important, and it was with this thought in mind that he embarked on this visit to Taiwan.
Chairperson Hagiuda thanked the Office of the President for finding the time on a busy Saturday evening to arrange for the president to meet with his delegation. He said that he expects the meeting to be of significance and that we will be able to take an important first step toward further enhancing the Taiwan-Japan relationship over the coming 50 years.
Also present at the meeting was Chief Representative Izumi Hiroyasu of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.