As Japan established diplomatic relations with China in 1972, since then it lacks formal ties with Taiwan. Still, two million surgical masks donated by Taipei arrived safely in Tokyo on the 21st of April, thanks to the head of Taipei’s Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, former Kaohsiung mayor and Taiwan premier Frank Hsie.
Together with Keiji Furuya, chairman of the All-Party Japan-Taiwan Parliamentary Group in the House of Representatives, and fellow member Minoru Kihara, he received the shipment at the airport. During a press conference, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary and press officer Yoshihide Suga had thanked Taiwan cordially for its warm-hearted support.
While the coronavirus is still spreading across Japan, there is a serious shortage of masks. Responding to a request for medical equipment made by the aforementioned parliamentary group, a few days ago the Taiwan Japan Relations Association, part of Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry (MOFA), started the administrative procedures. The donation arrived by cargo plane at Narita International Airport in two big bundles, which had ”Taiwan can help”, “Friendship between Taiwan and Japan” and “Japan, go, go, go” written on them.
Mr. Furuya expressed his special gratitude to Mr. Hsie for his fast response to the request. In the space of three days, the load will be evenly distributed among the 47 prefectures and 20 government ordinance cities, but also to schools and medical institutions. He praised Taiwan President Tsai Ying-wen for her timely and appropriate reaction to the coronavirus. Her preventive measures could serve as an example to the world.
Mr. Hsie said that he was very touched to see the masks arriving in Japan. Given that Japan and Taiwan were already cooperating in case of natural disasters, after assessing the epidemic situation in both countries, the Taiwanese government took the decision to contribute its part to help a friendly country. He hopes that the fight against the disease will soon be successful and that everybody can get back to a normal live before long.