On March 11th, in the campus of the National Central University in Taiwan (Zhongli City, Taoyuan County) a cherry tree planting ceremony was held to commemorate the signing of an exchange agreement between the National Central University and Chuo University. At the ceremony, the President of National Central University in Taiwan, Dr. Wei-Ling Chiang, gave a speech saying, "We are extremely grateful to be given such beautiful cherry trees". In addition to President Chiang, deans and teaching staff of each department attended the event, as well as about 50 children from a kindergarten on campus participated, giving enthusiastic encouragement.
Approximately 80 members of the Chuo University community attended and celebrated the magnificent occasion. Lead by President and Chancellor Kazuyuki Nagai, the Chuo group included more than 20 faculty members and staff, 37 members of the Academic Members Japan-China Friendship Association (Chuo University Alumni), former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, and 16 undergraduate students from the Economics Department studying in Taiwan at the National Central University, attended this event. The president and Chancellor Kazuyuki Nagai remarked that "I sincerely hope that this cherry tree becomes a bond of friendship between Japan and Taiwan."
The exchange agreement between Chuo University and the National Central University in Taiwan was signed after Ma Ying-jeou proposed that, as fellow educational institutions using the same Chinese characters in their names, it would be natural to form a cooperative relationship. National Central University kindly carried out preparation for the tree planting in an elaborate and authentic garden, proof of the extremely enthusiastic efforts National Central University is taking to promote their agreement with our university. In a few years, when the cherry trees come into full bloom with beautiful cherry blossoms, the garden will surely be a pleasing sight for the people of Taiwan and Japan.
Members of the Academic Members Japan-China Friendship Association of Chuo University, guided by President Shigeru Nagata, have wholeheartedly promoted good relations between Japan and Taiwan, and over the course of many years they have donated nearly 1000 cherry trees to Taiwan. This occasion was the eighth tree planting ceremony for the group. Plant specialists in Taiwan now carefully look after the cherry trees that have been planted in various parts of Taiwan.
Later, in a meeting held with National Central University after the tree planting ceremony, Ayahiko Matsumoto, Vice President of the Academic Members Japan-China Friendship Association (also former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu's private secretary and Chairman of the Japan-Taiwan Association for Promotion of Sports and Culture Board), received a special diplomacy award from the Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Timothy Chin-Tien Yang, dated February 15th, in the 100th year of the Republic of China (2011). This was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience.
At the time of departure, a special ceremony was held in the stateroom of Haneda Airport and former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu gave words of encouragement to those in attendance saying, "The donation of cherry trees is a great way to support everyone's grassroots efforts for international exchange".