Taiwan’s Lai seeks cooperation with Japan as he meets Tokyo governor


Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te called for cooperation with Japan during his talks Wednesday with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike so that the two sides can create a “win-win situation” for regional peace and stability, according to the presidential office.

Lai, the incumbent vice president, said Koike, who formerly served as defense and environment minister, plays an important role in Japanese politics and that he hopes by winning her assistance, the island and Japan can further cooperate to achieve economic and industrial prosperity, the office said in a statement.

On her first official trip to Taiwan since assuming office in 2016, Koike said the bilateral relationship is “closer than ordinary friendship,” as evidenced by the mutual assistance provided after earthquakes.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike (L) and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an hold talks in Taipei on Feb. 7, 2024. (Kyodo)

The governor expressed gratitude for the support offered by Taiwan following a powerful earthquake that jolted central Japan’s Noto Peninsula and surrounding areas on New Year’s Day.

At a separate meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Koike called for stronger cooperation in disaster prevention as it is the “common mission” of Japan and Taiwan to protect people’s lives.

Earlier in the day, Koike and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an agreed to exchange experiences and collaborate on urban governance. They discussed common issues affecting both cities, such as declining birthrates and hosting international sporting events.

“Through this opportunity, we can learn about the common issues between both sides. In the future, we can also share relevant information and help each other find solutions,” Koike said.

Chiang said Koike’s experience with urban governance is “very valuable” and provides a good opportunity for Taipei to learn from.

Koike also met with Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Audrey Tang, whom she praised for leading the island’s digital transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor sought Tang’s advice on advancing Tokyo’s digital transformation to enhance administrative services for the city’s 14 million residents. The digital minister expressed anticipation for future exchanges and visits.

China expressed strong opposition to the governor’s visit to Taipei, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying Beijing is against “official interaction of any form between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with China.”

The mainland, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory, has expressed concern to Japan and urged relevant parties to “avoid being taken advantage of” by “Taiwan independence” forces, Wang said.


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