President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen first extended his warm welcome to Uchida to serve as director-general of the Taipei Office of the Japanese Interchange Association, a quasi-official body authorized by the Japanese authorities to handle exchanges with the Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
Uchida, a career diplomat, had been Japanese ambassador to Israel, Canada and Singapore before he retired earlier this year.
Chen said he hopes that Uchida will serve as a bridge for contact and communications between the two countries and help boost bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields based on the current foundation.
For his part, Uchida said he feels honored to be given the Taipei assignment.
"I have long desired to work in Taiwan as Taiwan affairs have been one of the major focuses of world attention," Uchida said. "I will do my utmost to contribute to further growth of Japanese-Taiwan relations just like my predecessor."
Uchida's predecessor, Shintaro Yamashita, was also an outstanding career diplomat.
Chen decorated him with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon at the end of his Taipei stint in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of substantive Taiwan-Japan relations.
Chen told Uchida that Yamashita had witnessed Taiwan's appreciable changes during his 40-month tenure in Taipei, including the nation's struggle to rise up from the rubble of the 921 earthquake, Chen's defeat in the 1998 Taipei mayoral election and Taiwan's first-ever peaceful transition of power.