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Japan says big thank you to Taiwan on quake anniversary

2012/03/11 16:32:48

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan ran a half-page advertisements on the front page of leading daily newspapers in Taiwan Sunday to express Japan's gratitude for Taiwan's assistance following a devastating earthquake and tsunami a year ago.

The advertisement, run by the Japan Interchange Association (JIA) on the anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, expressed Japan's heartfelt appreciation for the support and encouragement received from Taiwanese in the wake of the devastating disasters.

In eye-catching bold-letter Mandarin and Japanese, the ad said: Thank you Taiwan! Japan will demonstrate its rebirth with vitality.

The ad, signed by the heads of the JIA Taipei and Kaohsiung offices, said Japan has felt warm support extended by Taiwanese from all walks of life since the earthquake.

JIA is an organization established in 1972 to represent Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties between the two nations.

The ad noted that after having said thank you many times on many occasions, the Japanese people wanted to offer their gratitude once again to Taiwan for assistance that was "second to none worldwide."

It also addressed the importance of bilateral relations, calling Taiwan an important partner of Japan in terms of economic exchanges and people-to-people ties, and said Japan would make greater efforts to further consolidate the partnership.

Noting that a record number of Japanese visited Taiwan last year -- the first time more Japanese visited Taiwan than Taiwanese visited Japan in a single year -- the JIA invited more Taiwanese people to visit Japan in the future.

It said that reconstruction continues one year after the disaster, but assured Taiwanese readers that most areas in Japan have returned to normal and that infrastructure and the local economies in the hardest-hit areas are on the way to recovery.

"The friendship of Taiwan's people will be deeply etched in the memory of all Japanese," the ad said.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has sponsored a commercial to be shown on several local TV channels in Taiwan to mark the first anniversary of the magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which resulted in nearly 20,000 people dying or going missing and a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The JIA is also scheduled to host a reception in Taipei Monday to thank "Taiwanese friends" and brief them on the reconstruction process since the disaster, according to Kenichi Okada, secretary-general of JIA's Taipei Office.

After the disaster, Taiwan donated about 20 billion Japanese yen (US$260.64 million) in cash to Japanese quake victims, 90 percent of which came from private donors.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Deborah Kuo)