Taiwan donates 2 million masks to Japan

Chiou I-jen (right) shaking hands with Izumi Hiroyasu: Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan donated 2 million surgical face masks to Japan on Thursday to help its northern neighbor contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement.

Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), chairman of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA), presented a giant face mask to Izumi Hiroyasu (泉裕泰), chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) Taipei Office, Thursday afternoon as part of a symbolic ceremony, MOFA said.

The donated masks will be delivered to Japan within a few days to help frontline health workers better protect themselves, MOFA said.

According to the ministry, legislators and civil groups in Japan have requested assistance from Taiwan on medical personal protective equipment due to many coronavirus infections within medical facilities.

MOFA also mentioned that the donation is in line with recent practice, whereby Taiwan and Japan always help each other when facing natural disasters.

Photo courtesy of MOFA

Meanwhile, Izumi thanked Taiwan for its “selflessness” in a message posted on JTEA’s Facebook page.

“When the unprecedented outbreak hit the globe, Taiwan, which can only rely on itself, performed exceptionally well. Taiwan does not only protect itself but the whole world,” Izumi wrote.

“The world is witnessing Taiwan’s contribution. We are all eyewitnesses,” the post further read.

Japan has recorded 8,582 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 136 fatalities as of Thursday afternoon, according to World Health Organization figures.

Japanese media have reported that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is to extend the state of emergency currently imposed on several prefectures to the whole nation until May 6 when the nation’s Golden Week holidays end.

In a press statement that came with Izumi’s Facebook post, the JTEA said cooperation between countries is important to prevent the spread of the outbreak and to fill in gaps in the global health system, referring to Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO.

“From this point of view, we continue to strongly support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the WHO,” the press statement said.