"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] President Ma meets former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe

[Place] Taipei
[Date] October 31, 2010
[Source] Office of the president, Republic of China(Taiwan)
[Full text]

President Ma Ying-jeou met with a delegation from the Japanese Diet's House of Representatives led by former prime minister Shinzo Abe at the Presidential Office on the evening of October 31. During the meeting, the president welcomed the former prime minister and his delegation to Taiwan. The group flew to Taipei on the inaugural flight between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Taipei's Songshan Airport earlier in the day. President Ma also expressed his hopes for a continued strengthening of friendly relations between the two sides.

The president remarked that the government over the past two years has strived to improve Taiwan-Japan relations, and the opening of flights between the two inner city airports has been an important part of this initiative. President Ma added that the commencement of this route will enable passengers to save two hours in travel time between the two capital cities, making one-day round trips feasible. This will provide convenience for tourists who would like to do day trips while fostering further development of bilateral business ties. The president noted that the number of Taiwanese visiting Japan grew 30% in the first half of this year, while the number of Japanese tourists coming to Taiwan rose 7%. With the direct flights between Songshan Airport and Haneda Airport, Taiwan tourists will be able to easily transfer to flights to 48 Japanese cities or airports upon their arrival. Meanwhile, Japanese tourists to Taiwan will be able to conveniently board connecting flights at Songshan Airport to the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung, and the offshore islands. The new route, he said, will help to boost bilateral tourism.

President Ma said he is pleased by the continued progress in Taiwan-Japan relations, adding that the former prime minister and his family have consistently been good friends to Taiwan. He commented that this marks the 23rd delegation from Japan that he has met this year, and the 75th delegation from Japan he has received since taking office, which is testimony to the close ties at the highest levels between the two nations. President Ma said that the government is also pursuing closer ties in the fields of tourism and culture to bolster bilateral relations. For instance, the two sides in June of last year signed a working holiday agreement, enabling young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to spend up to one year in the other nation and immerse themselves in the culture. Also, in December of last year Taiwan opened a representative office in Sapporo, Hokkaido to provide services to the 280,000 Taiwan tourists visiting the region each year. President Ma expressed his hopes that articles from Taiwan's National Palace Museum can some day be displayed in Japan once Japan's parliament passes legislation that will provide protection to the treasures while they are in Japan. This, he said, will further broaden cultural interaction between the two sides.

The Abe delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office in the evening by Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Chin-tien Yang and Japan Interchange Association Chief Representative Tadashi Imai to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen.