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May 30, 2017

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Former Japan PM's son tosses out first pitch in CPBL game

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A son of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi threw the first pitch at a game of Taiwan's professional baseball league yesterday as part of his ongoing trip to Taiwan.

Shinjiro Koizumi, the second son of Junichiro Koizumi, threw the first pitch at a Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL, 中華職棒) game between the EDA Rhinos and the Brother Elephants at a stadium in New Taipei yesterday evening.

The 32-year-old Japanese lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also took the opportunity to express gratitude toward Taiwan for its help after the March earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

A hardcore baseball fan, Koizumi used to be a pitcher in his high school days.

  He asked Taiwan's Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR, 亞東關係協會) to arrange for him to throw the ceremonial first pitch to kick off the CPBL game yesterday.

The semi-official AEAR is authorized by the Taiwanese government to handle bilateral exchanges with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Koizumi, director of the LDP's Youth Division, arrived in Taiwan on Monday leading a group of 97 young lawmakers.

Earlier yesterday, he and the delegation were received by President Ma Ying-jeou. The delegation was also scheduled to visit Taiwan's Legislative Yuan and National Palace Museum, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The delegation is expected to return to Japan on Thursday.

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