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Friday, November 30, 2007

In the news ニュース

One more day in Washington, and then it's back to Taiwan. It's always hard facing up to the prospect of having to return to Isla Formosa, but this time I feel especially reluctant. However, I have little choice in the matter (namely, work commitments and personal possessions), and so tomorrow we must leave.

Meanwhile, the Daily Yomiuri has this article, "Japan-Taiwan relationship gets new guide", on Chen Horng-chi, the new chairman of Taiwan's Association of East Asian Relations, the organization responsible for Taiwan's relations with Japan. The story points out that:

"Chen served as deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan for three years until Oct. 31. He has worked hard to strengthen Taiwan's ties with Japan, including in the fields of national politics, business and local government. Taiwanese tourists have been able to visit Japan without visas for the past two years. From this autumn, Japan and Taiwan agreed to recognize each other's driving licenses. Such measures are prompting a steady rise in tourist traffic."

Relations between Japan and Taiwan have grown closer in recent years, and will probably continue to do so. The article goes on to say:

"Taiwan is generally seen as pro-Japan, due to the influence of a generation who speak Japanese, such as former president Lee Teng-hui 李登輝. Japanese TV dramas also are now popular among the young generation. However, the country's top students have increasingly been choosing to study in the United States, not Japan. Chen worries that this will lead to a decline in the number of Taiwanese who can act as bridges between Japan and Taiwan. 'Fewer and fewer people in Taiwan know Japanese politics and society well, or understand the true beauty of Japan,' he said. Chen teaches at a university in Taiwan, and is planning to establish a course on contemporary Japan next spring. The goal of the course is to nurture Taiwanese who understand Japan well."

I generally agree with Chen's assessment of things. From my own observations, I've realized that while many Taiwanese are interested in things related to Japan, there isn't a high level of awareness of the reality of modern-day Japanese society.

Not that I know a whole lot about Taiwan...

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