Taiwan, Japan and the US have aided each other in many ways since the outbreak of COVID-19. In the early days of the pandemic, Taiwan donated millions of face masks to the US and Japan. Since May, the US and Japan have donated vaccinations to help Taiwan achieve herd immunity as quickly as possible. This is the latest example of Taiwan, Japan and the US helping each other in times of need.
A testament to this cooperative relationship stands proudly off the coast of Taitung. The Green Island Lighthouse shines into the Pacific Ocean warning sailors of the surrounding hidden reefs.
However, there was a time before the lighthouse existed. In 1937, an ocean liner set sail from San Francisco to Manilla via Kobe. Usually, ocean liners would sail through the Taiwan Strait. However, the Second Sino-Japanese War had recently broken out. Therefore, civilian ships started sailing along Taiwan’s east coast to avoid the fighting.
Everything was fine until monsoon winds started pushing the ocean liner towards Green Island. It struck a reef off the coast and started sinking.
Eventually, the villagers on shore saw what was happening and came to the aid of the ocean liner. They set up a cable between the boat and the beach, then used it to guide lifeboats towards safety. In the end, all 503 passengers and over 300 crew members were rescued.
Over the next few weeks, people in the US heard about how the villagers of Green Island helped during the rescue. In response, the Red Cross opened up a fund and donations started pouring in.
The lighthouse was finished in 1939. It was funded by the US, designed by Japan, and built by the people of Green Island. In 2013, the Taitung County Government opened the lighthouse to the public.
Both the donation of vaccines and the Green Island Lighthouse show that the friendship and bond between Taiwan, Japan and the US is beyond distance or boundary.