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Taiwan Sees Outpouring of Japanese Solidarity after Massive Earthquake

Replying to Kishida's condolences, Taiwan president-elect Wiliam Lai wrote: "Let's continue to help each other, hand in hand, and overcome challenges together."



Vice President and president-elect Lai Ching-te visits Hualien in eastern Taiwan on April 3. (©Central News Agency via Kyodo)

On April 3, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Taiwan. In response, many Japanese citizens took to social media, urging Japan to reciprocate the support Taiwan has extended during times of crisis.

From the Noto Peninsula earthquake on January 1 to the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, Taiwan has consistently extended a helping hand to Japan. 

In response to the outpouring of solidarity, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen shared on X (formerly Twitter): "The messages of support for Taiwan from Japanese people on social media once again reminded me of the friendship between Taiwan and Japan."

Renowned mountaineer Ken Noguchi, who has been involved in disaster relief efforts both in Japan and internationally, posted the following on X on April 3:

"During the Great East Japan earthquake, Kumamoto earthquake, and Noto Peninsula earthquake, Taiwan provided great assistance. In response to the Taiwan earthquake, Japan should reciprocate with the greatest effort. The word baigaeshi [paying back double] should be used in cases like this."

Solidarity and Mutual Aid

After the Noto Peninsula earthquake, donations poured in from various regions of Taiwan. The day before the earthquake, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan had just announced that it had sent approximately ¥2.51 billion JPY ($16.6 million USD) in donations to Ishikawa Prefecture.

Japan and Taiwan have forged a strong relationship of mutual assistance during times of crisis. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, Taiwan generously donated approximately ¥20 billion ($132 million), one of the largest contributions from any country or region. Taiwanese emergency relief teams were also promptly deployed to the affected regions.


Similarly, during the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes and the 2018 floods in southwestern Japan, Taiwan extended financial assistance and heartfelt messages of solidarity. Japan has also supported Taiwan during times of need, dispatching expert teams to assist during the 1999 Jiji earthquake and the February 2018 Hualien earthquake.

A rescue team conducts a rescue operation at a tilted building on April 3, Hualien, Taiwan. (Photo provided by a Taiwanese journalist to The Sankei Shimbun.

Overcoming Challenges Together

In the wake of the recent earthquake off the coast of Taiwan, Japanese social media users posted messages rallying support such as, "Now is the time to reciprocate."

One user said, "Taiwan has always helped Japan in times of crisis. When the fundraising campaign starts, count me in." Another called for Japan to "send generous support to express gratitude for all the help they have given us."

Despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations between Japan and Taiwan, Japanese politicians expressed gratitude for Taiwan's disaster relief efforts following the latest earthquake. Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi posted on social media: "We are earnestly seeking ways to reciprocate even a portion [of all that Taiwan has done for us]."

On the day of the earthquake, Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te (William Lai) replied to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's condolence post on social media. Lai stated that the mutual help "symbolizes the strong bond between Taiwan and Japan" and wrote, "Let's continue to help each other, hand in hand, and overcome challenges together."

The Red Cross Society of Taiwan provides disaster relief to affected areas. Check the website for more information. 


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Shimpei Okuhara, The Sankei Shimbun