Negotiations are under way for the establishment of a partnership between two train stations, one in Japan and the other in Taiwan, in a bid to promote tourism between the two destinations. The two stations attract tourists because of their names. One is in Obihiro, Hokkaido, and is named Kofuku which means “happiness” in Japanese, while the other is in Hexing and is popularly known as “Love” station, in the northern Taiwan county of Hsinchu. Kofuku Station, a stop on the now defunct Japanese National Railways’ Hiroo Line between Obihiro and Hiroo on Japan's northernmost main island, was opened in 1956. Combined with the line’s nearby station named “Aikoku”, Kofuku Station began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1970s because of a promotional catchphrase “From Country of Love to Happiness” – “ai” and “koku” mean “love” and “country” in Japanese, respectively. The Hiroo Line was shut down in 1987 and Kofuku Station is now under the management of the Obihiro city government. The station building and platform were renovated as a tourist attraction in November 2013. READ MORE: Remember the good Japan did for Taiwan, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says on second world war anniversary The number of tourists who visited the station in the April-September first half of fiscal 2015 soared 90.7 per cent from a year earlier to 129,100, including many foreign tourists, especially from Taiwan. The station is widely known in mainland China and Taiwan, an official at the Hokkaido prefectural government said. Hexing Station, which is on the Taiwan Railways Administration’s Neiwan Line, gained the name Love Station from a story of a high school boy running after a girl he loved who was on a departing train at the unmanned station in around 1960, according to a member of a group set up in Obihiro by citizens to promote ties between Japan and Taiwan. Asian tourists visiting the Tokachi region in Hokkaido, with Obihiro at its centre, have been steadily increasing in recent years. In the first half of fiscal 2015, 54,727 foreign tourists stayed at hotels or inns in Tokachi, up 41.5 per cent year on year, and those from Taiwan accounted for 46.1 per cent of the total. READ MORE: Veterans gather as Taiwan marks Japan’s second world war defeat Negotiations for a partnership between Kofuku and Hexing stations began following a proposal from the Taiwan side in the spring of 2014, with the group, the Tokachi Japan-Taiwan Friendship Association, exchanging information on many occasions. The Obihiro city government has tapped the central government’s subsidies for local economic stimulation and set aside 1 million yen (HK$65,000) in its supplementary budget for fiscal 2015 to facilitate the negotiations. “We expect a further increase in the exchange of people and goods” between Japan and Taiwan through the two stations’ partnership, said Mikado Kato, head of the city government’s tourism department.