Taiwan’s friendship seen in earthquake relief: Japanese official

A building that used to house Yuichi Yonezawa's company stands alone in tsunami-stricken area in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture on February 25, 2019. The area was damaged during the East Japan Great earthquake and the tsunami that occurred in 2011. On the day, Yonezawa ran up to the roof of 3-story building and climbed the chimney to save his life. The tsunami surged to a height of about 14 meters, shown on the board on the roof, above ground level, just below his feet. The building is designated as one of the disaster remains. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

TAIPEI (CNA) — Although the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, relief work in its wake was a true testament of Taiwan’s friendship, a Japanese official said March 10.

Kazuki Matsubara, head of the news and culture department at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei office, made the remark a day prior to the eighth anniversary of the disaster at an event in the city organized by Japanese students to express their gratitude for the assistance provided by Taiwan.

Although the disaster was shocking for Japan, it proved Taiwan is a friend who will always stand by Japan’s side, Matsubara said.

He made the remark at an event organized for the seventh consecutive year since March 2012, to thank the people of Taiwan for their assistance in the aftermath of the disaster.

In the past, the event was held in New Taipei’s Tamsui District, but due to rain it was this year relocated to the underground Taipei City Mall.

A remembrance ceremony for those who perished in the disaster will be held at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei office on Monday, Matsubara announced.

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, resulted in the deaths of 15,897 people, according to a report by the Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, on Sunday.

By Matt Yu and William Yen