Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) Director Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) in December last year visited Japan in response to an invitation from Japan’s veterans’ association, Taiyukai, paving the way toward regular interactions between the two agencies, a senior government official said.
Taiyukai Director Hajime Massaki believes that both the trend of having fewer children and a lack of a comprehensive system for assisting veterans have made it very difficult for the Japan Self-Defense Forces to recruit personnel, the source said, adding that Taiyukai expressed an interest in Taiwan’s veterans affairs policies.
Taiyukai was established as a charitable organization and claims no government affiliation, but its headquarters are at the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
Taiyukai Chairman Yuji Fujinawa and Massaki are retired generals and have both served as the chief of the joint staff at the ministry.
During discussions, Lee and Massaki agreed that Taiwan and Japan should make regular exchanges to boost bilateral relations and understanding, the official said.
Lee’s visit to Japan comes after a bill passed by the US government in October last year encouraging visits between the US and Taiwan “at all levels.”
During his trip, Lee also visited the Republic of China Veterans’ Association (ROCVA) in Japan, the source said, adding that it was the first time a council director has visited the association since its establishment in 1974.
Lee’s visit invigorated Taiwanese veterans in Japan and instilled a sense of unity toward Taiwan, the source said.
Lee’s itinerary in Japan was kept low-profile to prevent China from interfering, the source said.
Lee also visited Indonesia between Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, the official said.
Lee honored an invitation by the ROCVA in Indonesia, the official said, adding that he hosted an informational public meeting on the New Southbound Policy to urge Taiwanese veterans in Indonesia to support the policy.
Taiwan’s comprehensive system for helping veterans has also left an impression on the World Veterans Federation, the official added.
Last year, the federation’s Standing Committee on Asia and the Pacific hosted its 22nd meeting in Taipei, the source said.
Federation officials also visited the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, as well as businesses and training centers, the official said.
Federation president Dan-Viggo Bergtun has since used Taiwan as an example at different meetings and asked member nations to refer to and learn from the assistance that Taiwan provides its retired veterans, they said.
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