Japanese undergrads express gratitude
By Lauly Li, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- It has been two years since the tragic March 11 quake struck Japan, but since then Taiwan has raised over NT$7 billion and donated many tons of goods and materials to Japan.
March 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
And Japan remembers that.
“Taiwan's aid and encouragement helped us out from sadness and despair. On behalf of Japan, we really appreciate you,” Saori Hasegawa, student of Miyagi University, said recently in Taipei.
She said Taiwan's population is only one-fifth of Japan's, yet Taiwan's donations to Japan amounted to more than from any other nation.
Hasegawa is a member of a Japanese delegation that came to Taiwan to express their gratitude earlier in March.
Masahiko Sugita, a representative of Japan's Interchange Association, who also doubles as leader of the Japanese delegation, said the group includes 30 students from Fukushima University, Tohoku University and Miyagi University.
The delegation yesterday visited New Taipei City Hall and reported on Japan's post-disaster reconstruction progress.
Hasegawa said Taiwan's rescue team was the first to arrive Japan after the quake in 2011. Taiwan also provided 560 tons of goods and materials to northeastern Japan.
The delegation will stay in Taiwan from March 6 to March 14.
Sugita said there was not enough time for the delegation to visit all the cities in Taiwan and express their gratitude to every Taiwanese. “We really appreciate that Taiwan supported and assisted Japan after the March 11 disaster struck Japan,” Sugita said.
The delegation has visited Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Taichung and Tainan during its stay. He said they also visited Nantou County, where the 921 earthquake struck in 1999.
New Taipei Raised 200 Million Yen
in 1 Week
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said Japan is a close, friendly neighbor to Taiwan. When the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan in 2011, New Taipei City residents sent 200 million yen to Japan within one week for emergency relief and post-disaster reconstruction projects.
Chu said that beside donations, the city also sent special rescue teams from the Fire Department to aid Japan's disaster area.
Sugita said that in order to enhance cultural communication between the two nations' young students, 30 Japanese students stayed one night at Taiwanese students' apartments in Taipei and New Taipei on March 9.
After the March 11 quake, the Japanese government set a policy to enhance communications between Japanese students and other countries, and to inform other countries about Japan's post-disaster reconstruction progress.
The Japanese government invited young adults from 41 countries to visit Japan, and also sent Japanese delegations to other countries to establish communication and relations.