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Taiwan

Statue of famed Japanese engineer found decapitated in southern Taiwan

Police investigating vandalism of bronze likeness of Yoichi Hatta, the man who helped turn the arid Chianan Plain into one of Asia’s most productive agricultural regions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 11:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 11:46pm

A statue commemorating a late Japanese civil engineer in southern Taiwan who contributed to the island’s development was found decapitated on Sunday, local media reported.

Central News Agency said an investigation was under way to uncover the motive behind the vandalism and Tainan Mayor William Lai has instructed police to form a special task force.

The reports said that local police received a tip on Sunday morning the bronze statue of Yoichi Hatta at the memorial park in Guantian in Tainan was defaced.

The vandalism happened only three weeks before an annual ­memorial service is to be held at the park. The head is yet to be recovered.

The park was commissioned in 2011 to honour Hatta’s contributions to Taiwan. The unique statue depicts Hatta sitting on the ground, extending one foot forward and supporting his head with his right hand.

Hatta was stationed in Taiwan from 1910 to 1942, during which time he built the Chianan Canal and Wushantou Reservoir in the island’s southwestern Chianan Plain as key components in a massive irrigation system, one of many infrastructure projects Japan implemented to modernise Taiwan during its 50-year occupation that ended in 1945.

Thanks largely to Hatta, the Chianan Plain, once an arid wasteland with soil in the coastal area contaminated by high levels of salt, has become one of the most productive agricultural regions in Asia, growing a wide range of food crops, including more than 60 per cent of Taiwan’s rice.

Hatta was killed in an Allied submarine attack on a ship transporting him to the Philippines in 1942. Distraught by his death, Hatta’s wife jumped to her death from atop the reservoir he built.

Thanks largely to Hatta, the Chianan Plain, once an arid wasteland with soil in the coastal area contaminated by high levels of salt, has become one of the most productive agricultural regions in Asia, growing a wide range of food crops, including over 60 per cent of Taiwan’s rice.

Hatta was killed in an Allied submarine attack on a ship transporting him to the Philippines in 1942. Distraught by his death, Hatta’s wife jumped to her death from atop the reservoir he built that would bring prosperity to the once-poor area.