I arrived in Taipei on November 1st, 2019 to take up my new position as Chief Representative of Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Taipei Office.
Just before being assigned to Taiwan, I served as the Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh. Bangladeshis are very friendly to Japanese and supported me so kindly during my term of office. I feel greatly privileged and honored to be able to work in another one of the most pro-Japanese places in the world. I am firmly determined to do my very best to further enhance mutual friendship and understanding between the peoples of Japan and Taiwan.
No words can describe how close of a relationship Taiwan and Japan have maintained in terms of geography, history, and culture. I highly respect the spirit of the Taiwanese people in preserving a considerable number of Japanese-era buildings, including the Presidential Office, in excellent condition.
Japan and Taiwan have close people-to-people exchanges. You will find people speaking Japanese in all quarters of Taipei. Although not even a month has passed since I arrived in Taiwan, I have already felt kindness in the Taiwanese people’s hearts and I am certain that Japan and Taiwan are always together in spirit.
Taiwan extended warmhearted support to Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In 2018, 4.76 million Taiwanese visited Japan, and 1.97 million Japanese visited Taiwan.
We look forward to welcoming more Taiwanese visitors in Japan and make an effort to invite more Japanese tourists to Taiwan. As Chief Representative of Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Taipei Office, I will appeal not only the charms of Japan to the Taiwanese, but also that of Taiwan to the Japanese.
Japan and Taiwan are indispensable partners in pursuing one of our top shared priorities: achieving further economic development and promoting economic prosperity.
I have been impressed to find plenty of Japanese products, such as clothing, furniture, conveyor belt sushi (Kaiten-sushi) restaurants, and Ramen shops. There is almost no Japanese product that you cannot find in Taiwan.
I am deeply impressed with all the efforts made by the Japanese Commerce Association in Taiwan and by each member of the Taiwanese business community. We continue to devote ourselves to promote mutual economic development through economic cooperation between Japan and Taiwan.
Taiwan is an important partner of Japan, sharing fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law. Our bilateral relationship is becoming more important than ever before amid the changing international community and the increasing uncertainty over the existing world order.
Numata Mikio, my predecessor as Chief Representative, advised me to visit all the members of the Japanese National Diet who have worked closely with Taiwan before assuming my present office. I did not expect that it would turn out to be such a daunting task. There are as many as 300 pro-Taiwanese legislators! All of these lawmakers strongly believe in supporting Taiwan and strengthening the relationship between Japan and Taiwan. There is also an organization called the Taiwan–Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association in Taiwan’s Legislature, and I have been told that more than 90% of the legislators participate in this association
– a clear indication of the solid bond between Japan and Taiwan from the grassroots up to the leadership level.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that since I have been here, I have come to appreciate that the bond between Japan and Taiwan is first and foremost an affectionate relationship between friends. From the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016, and the floods in western Japan last year to the damage caused by Typhoons Mitag and Hagibis this year and even the fire at Shuri Castle in Okinawa, whenever Japan has experienced adversity and difficulty, Taiwan has always been the first to express sympathy and offer assistance.
I have worked as a diplomat for 38 years, and I count myself extremely fortunate to have come across a friend like Taiwan that has such a positive disposition toward Japan. As Japan enters the new Reiwa era, I feel truly honored to take this new step forward and represent my nation here in Taiwan.
I wish all of you prosperity and good health, and I pray for the continued successful development of Japan–Taiwan relations.
Chief Representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office.