Taiwan marks 7th anniversary of Japan 3/11 disaster

2018/03/11 19:20:29 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Mikio Numata (front left), Chiou I-jen (邱義仁, front second left) and Joseph Wu (吳釗燮, front third left)

Mikio Numata (front left), Chiou I-jen (邱義仁, front second left) and Joseph Wu (吳釗燮, front third left)

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) The Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) in Taipei expressed gratitude to Taiwan for its assistance at a ceremony held Sunday to mark the seventh anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing along the country's northeast coast.

A minute of silence was observed for the victims of the disaster at the ceremony presided over by Japan's chief representative to Taiwan, Mikio Numata. Also in attendance were Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affair Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and head of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA) Chiou I-jen (邱義仁).

JTEA is the de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

Numata said that seven years ago in the wake of the devastating disaster, then Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called on the Taiwanese public to support Japan's relief actions for victims and more than 20 billion Japanese yen (US$187.28 million) was collected.

The move highlights the special friendship between Japan and Taiwan and served as a turning point in relations between the two countries, Numata said, while taking the opportunity to thank Taiwan again.

Reconstruction work continues in the worst affected areas, including Fukushima, which was hit hardest, Numata said, adding that 84 percent of affected farmland has been rehabilitated and newly harvested produce from these areas sold across Japan.

Chiou said the hard work of Fukushima residents should serve as an inspiration and encourage recent victims of the earthquake that hit Hualien on Taiwan's east coast on Feb. 6, leaving 17 dead and over 290 injured, as they seek to rebuild their lives.

Chiou also thanked Japan for its support in the wake of the Hualien earthquake.

Meanwhile, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) sent prayers to the victims of the March 2011 disaster in a post on Twitter Sunday, saying she hopes reconstruction work in affected areas can be completed as soon as possible.

In a show of sincere appreciation for Taiwan's assistance for the March 11, 2011 disaster, Japanese students in Taiwan on Sunday established a committee aimed at expressing gratitude to Taiwan through practical action and designated March 11 Taiwan-Japan friendship day.

(By Ku Chuan, Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao)

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