Re-naming agency helps forge closer Taiwan-Japan ties: officials

Taipei--A ceremony was held to mark the official re-naming of the semi-official agency that handles relations with Japan Wednesday at what both sides called an "historical moment," while expressing hope that bilateral relation will be further strengthened.

The ceremony was held to unveil the new name plaque of the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations (????????), replacing the original Association of East Asian Relations (??????) which was used for 45 years.

Chiou I-jen (???), chairman of the association, said that based on its original name the public used to have difficulty understanding the association's work, with some even mistakenly thinking Hawaii fell under its remit.

The re-naming makes its work more transparent and symbolizes the beginning of a new era in Taiwan-Japan relations, Chiou said.

Speaking on the same occasion, Foreign Affairs Minister David Lee (???) said the name change marked a "historical step" in Taiwan-Japan relations, saying that bilateral ties are currently as good and close as they have ever been.

Japan's representative to Taiwan, Mikio Numata, also spoke at the plaque-unveiling ceremony.

Numata noted that Japan's Interchange Association was renamed the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in January. The name changes represent a milestone in bilateral relations, he said.

"Without effort and cooperation on both sides there would be no hope for the future development of relations between Japan and Taiwan," he said, adding that if both sides cooperate on various issues they can usher in a new stage in the building of a "rarely seen friendship."

He expressed hope the re-naming will provide an opportunity to move in such a direction.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel