Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an forge urban governance amidst opposition

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an forge urban governance collaboration focusing on disaster prevention and climate crisis amidst opposition.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an reached an agreement on Wednesday to share experiences and collaborate on urban governance, focusing on areas such as disaster prevention and climate change.

In her inaugural official visit to Taiwan since assuming office in 2016, Koike highlighted common challenges facing both cities, including declining birth rates and the organization of international sporting events.

Tokyo is set to host the Summer Deaflympics for deaf athletes next year, while Taipei will welcome participants to the World Masters Games, a multi-sport event for senior athletes.

Speaking to reporters following a private meeting with the mayor, Koike emphasised the importance of leveraging this opportunity to identify shared issues and exchange relevant information for mutual benefit.

Chiang acknowledged the value of Koike’s expertise in urban governance, noting that Taipei stands to gain valuable insights from Tokyo’s experiences.

However, China voiced strong opposition to Koike’s visit to Taipei, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressing Beijing’s objection to any form of official interaction between Taiwan and countries maintaining diplomatic relations with China.

China, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory, urged Japan to refrain from being influenced by “Taiwan independence” forces and to exercise caution in its dealings with Taipei.

Koike’s visit to Taipei followed her trip to Australia to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Tokyo’s sister state agreement with New South Wales. Her presence in Taipei underscores the growing importance of city-to-city diplomacy and cooperation in addressing common challenges faced by urban centres worldwide.

The exchange between Tokyo and Taipei reflects a broader trend of local governments seeking to learn from each other’s experiences and collaborate on solutions to shared problems.

As cities grapple with complex issues such as urbanisation, environmental sustainability, and social welfare, cross-border cooperation offers a platform for exchanging best practices and fostering innovation.

Despite geopolitical tensions, initiatives like the Tokyo-Taipei collaboration demonstrate the potential for constructive engagement and dialogue at the local level, contributing to greater resilience and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.