Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) The renaming of Japan's representative office in Taiwan to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association is aimed at advancing already close Japan-Taiwan relations, said Mikio Numata, Japan's representative to Taiwan, at Tuesday's unveiling ceremony of the new name plaque.
The hope for closer relations was symbolized by adding "Taiwan" to the name of the office, which used to be known as the Taipei Office of the Interchange Association, Japan, Numata said.
The office is responsible for de facto diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Japan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties. Its counterpart in Japan is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
Numata said that while Japan and Taiwan have made remarkable progress in developing their relations over the past 45 years, a survey conducted last year found that only a few people in Taiwan were aware of the association's existence.
It therefore decided to include "Taiwan" in its new name, he said.
Also symbolizing the close link between Japan and Taiwan will be changes to the association's new logo, Numata said.
An emblem of a plum blossom, the national flower of the Republic of China (Taiwan), has been placed on the first of the two Chinese characters for Japan, "日," and a cherry blossom, the national flower of Japan, is on the first of the two Chinese characters for Taiwan, "台."
At the ceremony, Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations (亞東關係協會), said the Taiwan-Japan relationship not only involved bilateral ties but also broader changes in the international situation.
He said he hoped the name change will usher in a new stage in the stable development of relations between the two nations.