Taiwan and Japan to work side by side
Taiwan & Japan, hand in hand

Continuing from her piece yesterday, Mindy asked her Japanese interviewees in Taiwan a few more questions – on subjects including the nation’s response to COVID-19, and the ongoing WHO bid.

Japanese knowledge of Taiwan

Unfortunately, after the interviews were well underway, I discovered that most Japanese who haven’t been to Taiwan remain largely ignorant about the country.

“The question I was asked the most back in my home town is: ‘How do you communicate with the Taiwanese? Do they all speak Taiwanese?’ They have no idea that Taiwanese speak Mandarin” said 一醬.

Conversely, however, those who have been to Taiwan acquire a general understanding of the country. “People have learnt a lot more about Taiwan during the past five years, due to a rise in budget airline popularity, and the spread of Taiwanese culture, such as the bubble tea boom in Japan” 一醬 added.

However, most Japanese still possess a rather rudimentary knowledge of Taiwan at best.

“Most of my fellow Japanese only know about the food or travel related issues. They remain ignorant of the China-Taiwan situation and how open-minded Taiwan is to have such vigorous social activities such as LGBT Pride parades. All liberal societies should look up to this” said Mio.

Has Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 impressed the Japanese?

Apparently, the robust strategy Taiwan has adopted in coping with COVID-19 has impressed the world, including Japan.

This, and whether or not Taiwan can join the WHO are attracting attention in Japan, and Japanese people have started to notice the name of Chen Shih-Chung,  and Audrey Tang.

“Our media is comparing the first reactions (towards COVID-19) of the Japanese and Taiwanese governments after the outbreak of the pandemic” 一醬 went on to add.

“I am using an official LINE account created by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and Deep Q team under HTC, offering real-time information about COVID-19, and I think it’s really helpful” said Mio.

“My family and friends back in Japan are praising the overall strategy adopted by the Taiwanese government, especially about the masks. They are envious of me living in Taiwan right now” responded Rika.

“Taiwan is a stronger country than I used to think” said the Japanese teacher.

 However, one of my interviewees claimed that she didn’t get much information about Taiwan from the Japanese media, due to the lack of international news in Japan. “I don’t get much information via our domestic media about how Taiwan is handling COVID-19 overall, but there is still news about Taiwan donating masks.”

Do Japanese support Taiwan’s bid to join the WHO?

All of my interviewees agreed on this issue, thinking Taiwan’s coronavirus response amongst the best in he world, and worthy of providing Taiwan with a place on the global stage offered by the WHO.

Furthermore, despite the complex diplomatic relationship between Japan and Taiwan, the relations between their peoples seems rather simple, albeit positive.

To this end, the Taiwanese should be more confident in their own country, including their government and the people themselves, in addition to the fact that the nation is earning recognition throughout the world.

Just as the Japanese representative to Taiwan, Hiroyasu Izumi claimed in an interview with CNA, ’’ The progress of Japan’s relations with China should not hinder the development of Japan’s relationship with Taiwan. Because Taiwan and Japan maintain close economic ties, share fundamental values, and their people have been important partners and valuable friends.’’

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