TAINAN, TAIWAN – A ceremony was held in Tainan Sunday to mark the completion of repair of the vandalized statue of a Japanese engineer who made great contributions to the agricultural development in southern Taiwan during Japan’s colonial rule.
Last month the head of the statue of Yoichi Hatta, who led the construction of the Wushantou Reservoir in the city, was found to be cut off. A former Taipei assemblyman admitted to the vandalism but the lost portion has not been found.
The statue at the reservoir was repaired with the head of a replica kept at a Tainan museum before Monday’s memorial service for Hatta, who died on May 8, 1942.
At the unveiling ceremony, Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te apologized for failing to protect the statue.
Meanwhile, Hatta’s grandson, Shuichi, 59, voiced thanks for the quick repair work. “I’m totally satisfied (with the result),” he said.
Born in 1886 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Hatta was involved in irrigation projects in the Chianan Plain and helped turn the drought-prone plain into Taiwan’s biggest grain-growing area by building the reservoir in 1930, the largest of its kind in Asia at the time.
With his achievements featured in Taiwanese textbooks, Hatta is regarded as a symbol of Japan-Taiwan friendship.
The ceremony was also attended by Kanazawa Mayor Yukiyoshi Yamano.