The governor of Tokyo flew in to Taiwan on Wednesday for a one-day whirlwind visit. Governor Koike Yuriko arrived before daybreak and spent the day meeting top central government officials, including President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Lai Ching-te. She also met Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an for talks on city governance.
Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an presents a dragon statuette as a gift to Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko. The leaders of the two capital cities held talks behind closed doors, focusing on city governance.
The 21st century has been dubbed the century of cities. By connecting with other cities, we can tackle common problems, such as flooding and earthquakes. These city-to-city ties are very significant for disaster prevention work.
After Governor Koike took office, Tokyo introduced egg freezing subsidies. The policy was very well received. Last year, 7,000 women applied for the subsidies. We exchanged views on policies like this. The relevant government departments will stay in communication, so that we can learn more about Tokyo’s experience implementing the policy.
Koike’s one-day visit began when she landed in Taiwan at 4 a.m. She had lunch with Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chair Su Jia-chyuan. In the afternoon, she met with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an, Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang, President Tsai Ing-wen, and Vice President Lai Ching-te.
The 71-year-old Koike has a unique personal background. Her father was a foreign trade merchant specializing in oil products. Koike obtained her bachelor’s degree in Egypt. She speaks fluent Arabic and English and previously worked as an interpreter, journalist, news anchor and presenter.
She entered politics in 1992. In 2007, she joined Abe Shinzo’s cabinet as the first female minister of defense. In 2016, she was elected Tokyo governor, becoming the first woman to lead the city. She had a close friendship with late Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, who she referred to as her Taiwanese father.
Koike has visited Taiwan on many occasions. During the pandemic, she showed great support for Taiwan, and even appeared in a public service announcement speaking Taiwanese.
For more than 50 years, Koike has been a close ally of Taiwan. Her pro-Taiwan stance has endeared her to the island’s public, while further deepening bilateral ties.
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