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May 27, 2017

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Japan politician visits to seek family roots

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan-born senior Japanese politician Murata Renho (村田蓮舫) visited the clinic her grandfather worked in at the southern city of Tainan to get closer to her roots, yesterday.

Born Hsieh Lien-fang (謝蓮舫), married to Murata Nobuyuki but commonly referred to by her first name Renho, the Taiwanese-Japanese was greeted by some of her grandfather's surviving patients at the city's Baihe District yesterday afternoon.

Renho was accompanied by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Chen Tang-shan (陳唐山), who is her relative, and Tainan Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) among others during her visit. According to Wang, Renho let Chen plan her trip at Baihe because of her deep trust in him.

According to information discovered by Chen, Renho's grandfather Hsieh Te-lin (謝達林) practiced medicine at the clinic located at what is now No. 102, Jhongshan Rd. in Baihe. Renho's father Hsieh Ge-hsin (謝哲信) moved to Japan in 1959 with his family.

At the former site of the clinic, long gone along with buildings nearby after years of rebuilding and renovations, Renho visited a photo studio and asked for information. While the owner of the studio said he did not know anything about the former clinic, Renho's visit drew a man who claimed to be Hsieh Te-lin's patient when he was 6 or 7 years old.

When asked by Renho if she looks like her grandfather, the man said that while he has no recollection of Hsieh's looks, "you should be much more beautiful than him."

Renho told reporters that she was moved to visit her father's hometown for the first time and find her grandfather's old clinic. She also said it has been a very fruitful trip as she now understands that the word "Lien" (蓮, lotus) in her given name came from lotus, which is a special product in Baihe.

Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), who greeted with Renho at Baihe, praised her achievement in Japan as a pride for Tainan citizens. The city will always welcome Renho to visit in the future, he said.

Visiting Taiwan with her mother and her twin children, Renho toured several tourist hotspots in the historic city in the morning. She praised the beauty of local architecture from the Ming Dynasty such as the Confucius Temple. She also highly praised the beauty of buildings from the Japanese colonial era including the Tainan governor's residence and the National Museum of Taiwan Literature (formerly the Tainan Prefectural Hall during Japanese rule).

Formerly a journalist, Renho is a member of the Upper House of the Diet of Japan. She served as minister for government revitalization in former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Cabinet.

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