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Governor of Japan's Okinawa makes brief visit to Taiwan

Denny Tamaki met with Taiwan-Japan Relations Association to talk trade

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on a visit to a US military base in 2019. 

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki on a visit to a US military base in 2019.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The governor of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture visited Taiwan this week on a low-key visit to discuss economic ties between Taiwan and the Japanese island.

Governor Denny Tamaki was in Taipei from Thursday (Nov. 23) through Saturday (Nov. 25) where he met with members of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss trade and tourism, reported UDN.

According to the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, Tamaki’s visit was focused only on economic exchanges, so he did not meet with any members of the Cabinet or municipal-level leaders. The governor also made no comments on Taiwan politics or cross-strait affairs.

Tamaki made a courtesy visit to the president of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) on Friday (Nov. 24), along with a delegation of approximately 10 people, reported UDN. The officials and business leaders discussed tourism exchanges and efforts to increase bilateral trade.

Tamaki reportedly invited Taiwanese businesses to participate in future trade shows in Okinawa, where he hopes to see bilateral trade and cooperation continue to increase. The governor also emphasized that not only Okinawan businesses, but firms from all over Japan are eager to boost cooperation with Taiwan.

Tamaki has been governor of Okinawa since 2018 and is known for his strong opposition to the U.S. military presence in the prefecture. He has often been at odds with Japan’s central government over plans to increase military spending and revamp bases in the region.

In July 2023, Tamaki made a five-day trip to China, where he sought to increase bilateral ties and conduct regional diplomacy. In an interview with the Global Times, Tamaki said that “Okinawa must never again become a battlefield,” and that he does not want Okinawa to be involved in a conflict with China just because U.S. military forces are concentrated there.

This week’s trip marked Tamaki’s first visit to Taiwan since 2019, per UDN.