On the morning of October 30, President Tsai Ing-wen presented Chief Representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office Izumi Hiroyasu with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Taiwan-Japan relations. President Tsai stated that Taiwan and Japan have proven to the world that partners who share the values of democracy and freedom not only can collaborate to address global challenges, but can also contribute to regional prosperity and development. She then thanked Chief Representative Izumi for the new milestones he established in Taiwan-Japan relations during his term of office, and said she looks forward to working together in a different capacity to further Taiwan-Japan relations.
In her remarks, President Tsai said that four years ago at a reception upon taking office, Chief Representative Izumi declared that Taiwan and Japan are true friends with a heartfelt connection. And over the past four years, our countries have not only been closely connected, but Taiwan has also found a sincere, true friend in Chief Representative Izumi.
Conferring the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon on Chief Representative Izumi on behalf of the people of Taiwan, the president said, not only underscores his outstanding contributions to Taiwan-Japan relations, but also conveys Taiwan's most sincere gratitude. With Chief Representative Izumi's assistance, over the past four years, Taiwan and Japan have provided mutual support to get through the pandemic together, and signed 10 major cooperation agreements covering transportation, environment, and judicial and youth affairs, leading to increasingly diversified and closer bilateral exchanges.
President Tsai also noted that last year Japan became Taiwan's second-largest market for agricultural exports. Over the past two years, the Taiwan-Japan Summer Fruit Festivals jointly organized by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association and the General Association of Chinese Culture were immensely popular and continued to help expand export channels for agricultural products from both countries.
The president thanked Chief Representative Izumi for his dedication to organizing events, deepening connectivity, and promoting co-prosperity and mutual benefit. With Chief Representative Izumi's support, the Taiwan-Japan partnership was further strengthened by expanding cooperation on public health, energy security, and disaster relief and prevention through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework.
Over the past four years, the president said, Taiwan and Japan have proven to the world that partners who share the values of democracy and freedom not only can collaborate to address global challenges, but can also create a virtuous cycle that contributes to regional prosperity and development.
The president said she will never forget that Chief Representative Izumi once described Taiwan and Japan as indispensable partners who are "closely connected and interdependent," and also stated on the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Facebook page that Japan will always stand by Taiwan and give us their utmost support.
The president noted that Chief Representative Izumi assumed his post in 2019, the first year of Japan's Reiwa era. At that time, she welcomed Chief Representative Izumi to Taiwan as Japan entered a new era, and looked forward to joining him in continuing to set new milestones in Taiwan-Japan relations.
In addition to setting new milestones in Taiwan-Japan relations, the president said that Chief Representative Izumi has worked diligently to cultivate the beautiful friendship between Taiwan and Japan. President Tsai believes that our two peoples will forever cherish this friendship, and likewise, we hope Chief Representative Izumi will always stand with Taiwan and consider Taiwan his second home. The president welcomed Chief Representative Izumi to return often and hope that they can continue to work together in a different capacity to further Taiwan-Japan relations.
Chief Representative Izumi then delivered remarks, thanking President Tsai for personally conferring the decoration, which he felt was a great honor. He also stated that during his four-year term he received assistance from people in Taiwan's government, as well as the economic and cultural sectors, communicating openly and working well together. He was delighted that Japan has such a friendly neighbor like Taiwan, which made him acutely aware of the precious friendship between our two countries. Chief Representative Izumi then once again thanked people throughout Taiwan society for their generous care and goodwill.
Chief Representative Izumi mentioned that in the four years he has worked in Taiwan, coinciding with President Tsai's second term of office, how Taiwan is perceived in the world has undergone a tremendous change. He cited major changes in the international landscape including the restructuring of global supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and the situation in Ukraine, all of which gave the international community a broader and deeper awareness of Taiwan. As President Tsai stated in her National Day address, Taiwan has become a Taiwan of the world, and Chief Representative Izumi feels this is a major diplomatic achievement of the administration led by President Tsai.
Chief Representative Izumi expressed hope that before her term of office comes to an end, President Tsai will continue to work for Taiwan's peace and security, and help take Taiwan-Japan relations to the next level. He also welcomed her to visit and travel around Japan after she leaves office and hopes she will be able to deliver a speech while there, especially since Taiwan receives a lot of attention in Japan, with news reports about Taiwan appearing just about every day. As Taiwan's first woman president, President Tsai also has a significant following in Japan among both men and women, and he believes that many people would welcome her to speak in Japan.
Among those attending the ceremony were Chief Representative Izumi's wife Izumi Masako and Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office Deputy Representative Hattori Takashi.