Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Shinzo Abe thanks Taiwan for support after disasters

HOMEWARD BOUND:China Airlines and EVA Airways added flights and operated larger aircraft to transport about 2,000 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Hokkaido

Staff writer, with CNA

A screengrab on Friday shows a tweet by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressing gratitude for the Taiwanese public’s concern for Japanese affected by a strong earthquake and typhoon.

Screengrab from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Twitter account

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed his gratitude to Taiwan for the Taiwanese public’s concern about the suffering of Japanese caused by a strong earthquake and a severe typhoon.

Abe said on Twitter in Chinese that he was grateful for the concern from many long-term friends in Taiwan about the damage caused by a series of natural disasters in Japan over the past week.

His tweet came after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday night said on Twitter in Japanese that Taiwan was ready to send a rescue team to help Japan after a strong earthquake hit the country earlier that day.

The magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook Hokkaido at 3:08am on Thursday, cutting power to millions of people across the island and triggering a landslide that engulfed buildings, leaving dozens trapped and injured.

The earthquake came after Typhoon Jebi, the strongest to hit Japan in 25 years, swept through western Japan on Tuesday, leaving 11 people dead and more than 600 injured.

“I am very grateful for the sincere concerns from many long-term friends in Taiwan,” Abe said. “People in Japan are trying hard to rescue the victims of the damage [caused by the disasters] and to reconstruct the affected neighborhoods.”

“Natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes are our common challenges. I hope we will work together to conquer them and get through the difficult times,” Abe added.

In her Twitter message, Tsai said: “As a friend of Japan, Taiwan hopes it can help Japan get through such a difficult time. Taiwan has an obligation to do so.”

Separately, the Tourism Bureau said that the nation’s two biggest airlines, China Airlines (中華航空) and EVA Airways (長榮航空), were yesterday expected to transport about 2,000 Taiwanese tourists stranded in Hokkaido back to Taiwan through extra flights and bigger aircraft, in addition to their regular services.

Following the resumption of full services yesterday at New Chitose Airport near Hokkaido’s main city, Sapporo, China Airlines operated one additional flight at 7:10pm from Sapporo to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the bureau said.

That flight, along with two regular round-trip flights to Sapporo from Taoyuan airport and Kaohsiung International Airport, were expected to transport 1,000 people back to Taiwan, it added.

EVA Air also operated an extra flight at 6pm from Sapporo to Taoyuan airport, and used bigger aircraft for its two regular round-trip flights between the two destinations and for a round-trip flight between Taoyuan and Hakodate, which is also in Hokkaido, the bureau said.

EVA Air was also expected to transport about 1,000 tourists back to Taiwan, it added.

Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said he has asked China Airlines and its subsidiary Tigerair Taiwan (台灣虎航) to operate additional flights to Hokkaido today, adding that the airline was considering the proposal.

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