Ishigaki Island Marathon to attract 700 runners from Taiwan

September 23, 2013 Ken Sasaki of Ryukyu Shimpo

Hisao Hirata, Okinawa representative of the Okinawa and Taiwan Exchange Promotion Association, announced on September 22 that the association will send 700 marathon runners with their supporters from Taiwan to the Ishigaki Island Marathon next January. Aiming to promote cultural exchange between Okinawa and Taiwan, the association plans to hold cultural exchange events, including karate demonstrations and Ryukyuan dance performances to coincide with the marathon.

Hirata will visit Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama to ask for assistance accepting the Taiwanese participants from October 1 to 2.

In cooperation with a Taiwanese shipping company, the association plans to bring the Taiwanese runners from Keelung to Ishigaki on the Taiwanese car ferry Natchan Rera.

The association has been holding the Taiwan and Okinawa Friendship Golf Cup either in Okinawa or Taiwan each year since 2008 to promote the citizen-level exchange between Taiwan and Okinawa. In addition, marathons held in either location attract upwards of 100 runners each way, further helping to deepen exchange.

Hirata said, “Sending 700 marathon runners from Taiwan to Japan is a first for us. We want this event to succeed, further deepening exchange between Okinawa and Taiwan.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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