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Magistrate Huang Establishes Exchange Relationship with Japan under 300 Model Hot Air Balloons Hanging from Prefecture Hall



Posted Unit:Taitung County Government



Magistrate Justin Huang brought a team to Mie Prefecture, Japan on March 8 and 9 to meet for the second time with Prefectural Governor Eikei Suzuki, Iga City Mayor Okamoto Sakae, and Shima City Mayor Hidekazu Oguchi. This meeting was arranged to discuss details on cooperative exchange between Taitung and Japan as stipulated in an MOU signed in January. Magistrate Huang and his team went to Mie Prefecture Hall in Tsu City as well as the city halls in Iga and Shima Cities. They were surprised to see the 300 model hot air balloons they had given the Japanese teams in January hanging in the lobbies of those buildings after having been decorated by local schoolchildren. In addition, the Iga and Shima City Hall entrances had spaces set up do display items from Taitung such as its mascot, indigenous cultural and creation products, and travel brochures, allowing locals to get to know Taitung and gain interest in traveling there.

Since beginning his second term as Taitung County magistrate, Huang has devoted himself toward making Taitung an “international city of happiness”. He has reorganized the original County Planning Department into the newly-established International Development and Planning Department, and he plans 2016 to be Taitung’s first official year of internationalization. With support from the Taiwan-Japan Industrial Collaboration Promotion Office at the beginning of this year that promoted international development for Taitung County Government and the signing of an MOU by the Taitung County International Development and Planning Department and two cities from Mie Prefecture (Iga and Shima Cities), it is expected that all parties involved will make use of their localities’ characteristic features and common ground to achieve practical exchanges. They especially emphasized interest in developing cooperation with regard to resident artist programs and sports competitions. Huang even proposed special discount promotional events for Mie residents so that more Japanese tourists may experience the warmth of Taitung.

Taitung’s agricultural products were also a highlight of the trip. Besides the exhibition of a variety of Taitung’s processed agricultural products at the meeting, the mayors of Iga and Shima Cities had a taste of Taitung-produced djulis (red quinoa) pineapple cakes and red oolong tea. Moreover, the chairperson of the Shima City Chamber of Commerce and Industry invited the Taitung County Government to set up a stall of Taitung’s agricultural products at the Shima City Food Exhibition in April. In return, Magistrate Huang gave the Japanese officials handmade Paiwan tribe vests, bead necklaces, and the pomelo tea that the Japanese officials had taken part in making during their first visit to Taiwan. All of these gifts made an impression on the Japanese about how serious the Taitung County Government is in promoting this exchange.

Due to Mainland China’s recent stringent restrictions on the number of tourists allowed to Taiwan, regions all over the island are quite troubled about what to do. However, with Magistrate Huang’s vision of making Taitung into an “international city of happiness”, the County Government has long been involved in creating a series of plans to attract international tourists. Proposals have been made for the establishment of a travel agency dealing with tourism to Mie Prefecture as well as the holding of events in Mie to introduce Taitung to the locals. Huang looks forward to this cooperation with Mie to bringing about a new wave of tourism from Japan and, of course, related consumption.