Taipei, Dec. 13 (CNA) The chair of a Japanese parliamentary group promoting Taiwan-Japan ties reiterated his support for Taipei's bid to join a Tokyo-led trade bloc during a meeting with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) in Tokyo on Monday night, while calling for closer Taiwan-Japan exchanges on all fronts.
Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council Chairman Keiji Furuya made the remarks when he and a group of council members hosted Chen in Tokyo, according to a Kaohsiung City government press release.
Chen of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently visiting Japan's capital city as part of his first overseas trip since taking office in 2020.
In Monday's meeting, Chen expressed his gratitude to Japan for donating COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan. In response, Furuya said the vaccine donation was made as a return gift after Taiwan donated 2 million face masks to Japan in early 2020.
Furuya also said that the most important job at hand for both Tokyo and Taipei are to push for Taiwan's inclusion in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to maintain regional peace and prosperity in the region, and to protect Taiwan's democratic system, the press release said.
It said Chen thanked the support given by the Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council, which consists of more than 260 Japanese lawmakers from different political parties, in promoting closer bilateral relations.
The mayor also thanked Furuya for supporting Taiwan's CPTPP bid, the press release said.
Aside from Furuya, four other Japanese lawmakers of the council also joined the dinner party to welcome Chen to Japan, according to the city government.
CPTPP is one of the world's biggest trade blocs, representing a market of 500 million people and accounting for 13.5 percent of global trade.
For a new member to join the CPTPP, all 11 signatories -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam -- must approve the application.
Taiwan applied on Sept. 22 last year to join the CPTPP, less than a week after China submitted its application.
According to the Kaohsiung city press release, Chen is leading a delegation of city officials from the Department of Administrative and International Affairs and Marine Bureau. The group arrived in Japan on Sunday afternoon for the three-day visit.
Earlier Monday Chen met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and during the meeting they two exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues of mutual interest, including smart cities, energy saving and carbon reduction.
On Tuesday morning, Chen visited Tokyo's Toyosu Fish Market to learn from its relocation experience as Kaohsiung has also recently decided to renovate its 50-year-old Cianjhen Fish Market, the city government said.
The mayor will head back to Taiwan later Tuesday, it added.
Chen won reelection last month and will begin his second term in office on Dec. 25.
The 57-year-old also recently became acting chair of the DPP after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) resigned as party chairperson following a crushing defeat the DPP suffered in the local government elections on Nov. 26.