The interaction between Taiwan and Japan has increased since Hsinchu County's Hexing Station and Hokkaido's Kofuku Station established partnership in 2016. To develop a closer bond, Hsinchu County Government Education Department held the 2019 Taiwan-Japan Table Tennis Exchange Games in Hengshan Junior High School on the afternoon of March 23. The two-day event was attended by 16 table tennis players from Obihiro, Japan, and 16 players from five junior high schools in Hsinchu County. It was hoped that the sports event could not only broaden the students' international horizons but also facilitate the developments of sports, culture, and education of both sides.
Before the exchange games kicked off, the students of Hengshan Junior High School welcomed the Japanese guests with vigorous drumming and harmonica performances. Secretary-General of Hsinchu County Government Chen Ji-yuan(陳季媛), Mayor of Hengshan Township Zhang Zhi-hong(張志弘), and Vice Chairman of Tokachi Japan-Taiwan Friendship Association, Hirokazu Nakamura(中村浩), exchanged souvenirs with each other to show hospitality. Besides, the player representatives of both sides also exchanged gifts, which symbolized lasting friendship. Mr. Nakamura showed he was grateful to Hsinchu County Government and Magistrate Yang for organizing the event, which he hoped could help establish a closer relationship between Taiwan and Japan.
Secretary-General Chen showed that this was really a meaningful sports event as Taiwanese and Japanese players alike could gain more experiences. She also mentioned Hsinchu County was a cordial city that all Japanese would be warmly welcomed to visit. One of the Japanese table tennis players, Saeka Yamaguchi, said that she was looking forward to making new friends who also loved table tennis during the games.
Hengshan Township Mayor Zhang Zhi-hong and Vice Chairman Hirokazu Nakamura were invited to start the games by hitting and returning the first shot. Mayor Zhang hoped that sports exchange would boost the developments of culture, education, tourism, and industry of both countries.