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Friday, May 15, 2009

Friendly Skies

In yet another sign of the increasing importance of Taiwanese visitors for the Japanese tourism industry, Japan Focus has this Kyōdō News 共同通信社 article ("ANA to deploy onboard interpreters for Narita-Taipei flights" http://www.japantoday.com/category/travel/view/ana-to-deploy-onboard-interpreters-for-narita-taipei-flights):

"All Nippon Airways 全日本空輸 will begin deploying on board interpreters to better serve passengers next Monday, starting with its Narita 成田-Taipei (Taihoku) 台北 flights twice a week, ANA officials said Wednesday. Six female Taiwanese interpreters in their 20s, who can speak Taiwanese 台湾語, Mandarin 普通話 and English, were selected from 700 candidates for the new posts. Two of them can also speak Japanese, they added. At present, only Japanese flight attendants who can speak Japanese and English serve customers aboard the Narita-Taipei flights. ANA decided to deploy an interpreter for each flight on top of those attendants because the number of Taiwanese passengers on the flights has recently increased, the officials said. Wu Yi-fan, 24, one of the six interpreters, who formerly worked as a clerk at the airline, said in Japanese she will not only translate but also try to kindly attend to passengers."

Coming on the heels of the recent decision by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs 中華民国外交部 to open a representative office in Sapporo 札幌 this summer, it just goes to show that most Taiwanese don't seem to care that Japan is holding on to the Senkakus 尖閣諸島, or that it considers the question of Taiwan's sovereignty to be still undetermined.

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