Japan: Taiwan's donations to quake-stricken Japan top world: magazine

Taiwan has donated more money to earthquake-stricken Japan than any other country or region in the world, surprising the Japanese and making them realize Taiwan was a true friend, a Japanese magazine reported in its latest issue.

The Shukan Shincho, a weekly magazine issued every Thursday, also ran a photo showing Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou soliciting donations on TV for Japan.

The report said more than 130 countries and regions have come to the aid of Japan in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, such as the United States, which has not only donated money but also mobilized around 18,000 soldiers for assistance.

In addition, Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has donated 82 million yen (NT$28.6 million) , and many relatively poor countries in Africa, such as Sudan, had also contributed funds.

But what surprised the Japanese the most was the helping hand extended by Taiwan, the report said.

Taiwan has sent a rescue team and relief goods, and as of April 1, its Red Cross Society had solicited 10.99 billion yen in donations, up to 90 percent of which came from private donors.

Though it has a population of only 23 million, Taiwan has donated even more than the United States, the report said.

The reports also cited a Japanese reporter stationed in Taiwan who said Taiwan's people had not forgotten the goodwill shown by Japan in the wake of Taiwan's devastating Sept. 21, 1999 earthquake that left more than 2,000 people dead.

Japan sent a 145-member rescue team and donated NT$1.1 billion in funds to Taiwan after that natural disaster.

The magazine also cited diplomatic commentator Masahiro Miyazake's observation that Japan's pro-China political figures and media have not treated Taiwan well.

Even former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui sent encouraging messages to quake-affected victims, but pro-China media has barely acknowledged Taiwan's support, he said, observing that true friends are those who are there in difficult times.

Meanwhile, Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co. Ltd. also ran a full-page ad in the largest-circulated newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun to express appreciation to Taiwan.

The ad said Taiwan sent a rescue team and relief goods, and the Red Cross Society had collected 11.01 billion Japanese yen as of April 12.