William Lai pays tribute on anniversary of Japanese engineer’s passing

The ex-prime minister paid tribute to Yoichi Hatta for building Wushantou Reservoir in Tainan City

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William Lai paying tribute to Yoichi Hatta's statue (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former premier William Lai (賴清德) paid tribute to Japanese civil engineer Yoichi Hatta (八田與一), at Wushantou Reservoir in Tainan City on Wednesday morning (May 8), on the anniversary of his death in 1942.

Yoichi Hatta was known for building Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) and the Kanan irrigation system (嘉南大圳), in Japanese-ruled Taiwan (1895-1945). Lai has paid tribute to Hatta’s statue every year since becoming mayor of Tainan.

After the event, he gave a speech at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (屏東科技大學). He told the students to “do whatever they have a passion for” regardless of what the rest of the world might think.

Lai took questions after the speech. When asked about granting former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) an amnesty, Lai said this is not the reason he is running for president. Even so, he added, there were disputes over procedural justice in the prosecution of Chen.

When asked about Taiwan’s independence, Lai replied that Taiwan is an independent country that enjoys sovereignty and “we will never accept ‘one country, two systems.’”

As for an independence referendum, Lai said there is no need, because Taiwan is a de facto sovereign state. Taiwan maintains the status quo and peace with China by recognizing its independence, he said, not by upholding the nonexistent “1992 consensus”.