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Taipei Mayor Ko signed an MOU with Mayor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime, Japan on 18 May

On 18 May, Taipei Mayor Ko signed an MOU with Mayor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime, Japan. Through this MOU, both cities hope to conduct further exchanges in tourism, culture, sport, education and business development. The two city governments also hope to collaborate on cycling networks and infrastructures and thus generate more collaboration.
In his opening remarks, Mayor Ko said that he headed a delegation to Tokyo, Yokohoma and Osaka this January and discovered that there are many ways in which Taiwan can learn from Japan.
Mayor Ko also discussed Taipei City’s hosting of the Velocity-City Global this year and expressed his hope that it would encourage fans of cycling in Taipei to visit Ehime, and vice versa, to experience the different cycling infrastructures our two cities offer. 劉麗珠, CEO of the Cycling Lifestyle Foundation, was also present for the MOU signing ceremony. Ms. 劉has long been an advocate for the cycling lifestyle. She has cycled around Ehime before and was greeted warmly by Mayor Nakamura. The mayor is also the first regional Japanese official to visit Taipei and try out YouBike. Ms. 劉said she hopes that this experience will bring about more cycling-based exchanges between the cities.
In his remarks, Mayor Nakamura said that meeting Mayor Ko again was a great pleasure. He recalled that when he became mayor ten years ago, the Taipei Song Shan Airport had the same name as their city, which is how the inter-city exchanges began. Today, connections between Ehime and Taipei City include a flight path between Ehime and Song Shan Airport, railway stations with the same name, an exchange between Beitou Hot Spring and Dogo Onsen Hot Spring and a cycling promotional campaign in Ehime launched by Taipei City professionals five years ago. This is why cycling culture was such a strong theme in the present MOU and why Mayor Nakamura expressed his hope that Mayor Ko would visit Ehime one day to try out their cycling network.
Mayor Nakamura also explained that the Nishiseto Expressway, Japan’s most popular cycle path, is also located in Ehime. At first he had intended to invite Mayor Ko to ride the path with him, but then he heard that Mayor Ko had completed a roundtrip of Taiwan measuring 500 kilometres in 28 hours. By comparison, he said, this May he had ridden 300 kilometers in three days, so he hesitated to extend an invitation. But Mayor Nakamura said that he still hopes that one day Mayor Ko will visit Ehime and ride the Nishiseto Expressway with him, and that this MOU will strengthen the ties between Taipei City and Ehime.