Mon, May 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai gains support, while Lai cheered on in Japan

By Yang Chun-hui and Lin Tsui-yi  /  Staff reporters in Taipei and Tokyo

Former premier William Lai, second right, smiles as he paints in the pupil of a Daruma doll at the Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro yesterday.

Photo: Lin Tsuei-yi, Taipei Times

In the lead-up to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary, opinion surveys are showing an increase in support for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), while presidential hopeful William Lai (賴清德) has received enthusiastic encouragement from Taiwanese residents in Japan and Japanese friends.

“The government has made good progress [since last year’s nine-in-one elections], and we are responding to and dealing with problems much quicker,” Tsai said yesterday.

Opinion polls show that the public has recognized the administration’s progress, she said.

Asked whether telephone surveys should be used as the primary polling method, Tsai said that she would respect the decision made by the party through its internal democratic mechanism.

Meanwhile, Lai was yesterday invited by the Taiwanese Association in Japan to give a keynote speech at the Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro.

Organizers said that support shown at the event exceeded their expectations.

More than 500 Taiwanese and Japanese crowded into the Tokyo venue, where Lai presented his talk titled “Taiwan and Japan facing common challenges and opportunities.”

People at the event held a banner reading: “William Lai 2020 Taiwan President,” while shouting: “William Lai will win the election.”

After his speech, Taiwanese groups presented a Daruma doll to Lai.

Lai painted the doll’s left pupil, in a traditional gesture to receive good fortune and success.

Alice King (金美齡), a prominent Taiwanese independence advocate who lives in Japan, after the speech raised Lai’s hand in a show of support.

During his four days in Japan, Lai also spoke with Japanese legislators, and on Friday met with three former Japanese prime ministers: Toshiki Kaifu, Yoshiro Mori and Yoshihiko Noda.

“It is a rare opportunity for me to visit Japan. I hope to talk with friends here about how we can enhance the relationship between Taiwan and Japan to face common challenges together,” Lai said.

“Many of my Japanese friends, despite the inconvenient time of my visit, and the currently sensitive nature of Taiwan’s political status, still came to meet me and gave me advice and ideas,” Lai added.

Lai was slated to arrive in Kaohsiung late last night.

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