Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te expressed gratitude to Tokyo on Monday for supporting the expansion of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, in Japan as he met with Japanese lawmakers, the island's presidential office said.

During talks with House of Councillors members Tsuneo Kitamura and Iwao Horii in Taipei ahead of the inauguration of TSMC's first factory in Japan, scheduled for Saturday, Lai said that he is "very grateful" to the Japanese government and the country's legislature for their "strong support" in realizing the fab's swift construction.

The new factory — a joint venture with Sony Group and Denso — was completed within 20 months in Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture.

As part of efforts to promote domestic chip production, the Japanese government has already decided to provide up to ¥476 billion ($3.18 billion) in subsidies toward the TSMC fab.

As the chipmaker earlier this month unveiled its plan to build a second factory in the pefecture, Lai said the development is believed to be "of great significance to future industrial cooperation between Taiwan and Japan."

The construction of the second fab is expected to start by the end of 2024 and is scheduled to begin operations three years later, according to the company.

During the meeting, Kitamura referred to Lai as an "old friend of Japan" and called for stronger economic cooperation between the two sides, the presidential office said. Both Kitamura and Horii belong to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Lai, the incumbent vice president of Taiwan, won the Jan. 13 presidential election to secure a third consecutive four-year term for the ruling, independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, an unprecedented run of success in the period since the island introduced the direct leadership poll, in 1996.