Japan’s Public, Private Sectors Offer Aid to Quake-hit Taiwan; Bilateral Relationship a ‘Cycle of Goodwill,’ Says Tsai

Masatsugu Sonoda / Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, second from right, and others hold up messages of support for Japan on Jan. 4 in Taipei after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

TAIPEI — Japan’s private and public sectors have geared up to support Taiwan after the deadly earthquake that struck off Hualien in Taiwan’s east. This reflects the ties between Japan and Taiwan, which have supported each other in times of disasters.

Following the April 3 quake, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced an emergency aid package totaling $1 million in grants. At the municipal level, Kumamoto, Miyagi and other prefectures with ties to Taiwan, as well as more than 25 cities and towns, have set up donation boxes.

The private sector is also extending support. Baseball teams that have held friendly games in Taiwan, where pro baseball is very popular, are running fundraising campaigns, and some restaurants and bars are setting up donation boxes. On X, formerly Twitter, many Japanese posted comments tagged #Taiwan jiayou (hang in there Taiwan).

“I’d like to thank our Japanese friends for thinking about us,” said a 54-year-old man who manages a temple in Hualien. “The friendship between Taiwan and Japan is special,” he said.

Japan’s support is based on an appreciation of Taiwan’s generous aid after disasters in Japan. Taiwan donated more than ¥20 billion following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. After the Noto Peninsula Earthquake in January, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu called for support at a press conference, and posters calling for aid were put up at convenience stores, leading to around ¥2.5 billion being collected in just two weeks.

In Taiwan, where many are fond of Japan, people remember the assistance provided by Japanese emergency rescue teams and volunteers after the 1999 earthquake in Taiwan that killed more than 2,400 people.

The bonds that have developed between Japan and Taiwan have led to an exchange of favors in times of emergency. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan sent masks to Japan, and Japan provided vaccines to Taiwan.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has described the supportive bilateral relationship as a “cycle of goodwill,” stressing that the two sides have helped each other “like family” whenever one side is in need.