Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan and Japan sign aviation agreement

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan and Japan signed an aviation agreement yesterday to promote exchanges on aviation safety and cooperation in the investigation of airline accidents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced.

Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), chairman of MOFA’s Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR), and Ikeda Tadashi, chief representative of the Taipei Interchange Association (ICA), Japan’s representative office in Taiwan, yesterday formally signed the pact, called the “AEAR and ICA Agreement on Aviation Safety.”

“Taiwan and Japan will cooperate on investigations into any aviation incident or major accident, share professional information on aviation safety and hold workshops on aviation safety,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that the agreement will “gradually establish a cooperation framework between Taiwan and Japan on aviation safety, a step forward to guaranteeing bilateral flight safety.”

Japanese tourists made some 1.16 million visits to Taiwan last year, the most of any foreign country, while Taiwanese in return made 1.38 million visits to Japan.

The latest air disaster involving the two countries came when a China Airlines Boeing 737-800 caught fire on Aug. 21 last year moments after landing in Okinawa. All 165 passengers and crew miraculously escaped just minutes before the plane burst into a fireball.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated by Japanese aviation authorities, but preliminary investigations have pointed to a loose bolt piercing a fuel tank.

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