Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Former Legislative Yuan speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) has taken over the position as the new chairman of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA), the government-funded association said in a press statement on Friday.
According to the statement, the association's directors and supervisors approved the resignation of former chairman Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and confirmed Su as his replacement during a meeting on Friday morning.
It remains unclear why Chiou, 72, decided to step down from the position he had held for six years. Local media have cited sources from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as saying that he resigned due to personal health concerns.
TJRA serves as a corresponding organization to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, which represents Tokyo's interest in Taipei in the absence of former diplomatic relations.
During his speech at Friday's meeting, Su pledged to make every effort to bring the relationship between Taiwan and Japan to a new level.
The 66-year-old said that during his tenure in the Legislature, he had been dedicated to promoting exchanges between Taiwanese lawmakers and their Japanese counterparts.
He has also led a legislative delegation to visit Japan to show that Taiwanese lawmakers across party lines cherished the country's ties with Japan, said Su, who previously served as secretary-general to the president.
In response to Chiou's resignation, the Japanese representative to Taiwan Hiroyasu Izumi took to social media on Friday to express his gratitude for Chiou's contributions to promoting the relationship between Taiwan and Japan.
Chiou was "an important bridge" between Tokyo and Taipei and during his six years of service under the TJRA, bilateral tourism flows and bilateral trade values had both reached their record highs, said Izumi, who is also chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association's Taipei office.
Speaking to CNA on Friday, DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) lauded Su as an excellent replacement for Chiou because of his close rapport with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) due to years of the two of them working together.
The selection of Su to head the TJRA is symbolic of the importance Taiwan attaches to its relationship with Japan, Lo said.
The association is expected to play an important role in facilitating trade and security cooperation between the two countries, especially as Taiwan seeks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership while Japan shows more concern for the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, Lo said.