Thursday 13 August 2015

Taiwan Discovers Japan, Not Vice-Versa

While I was in Taiwan, it did seem to me that the younger generation had taken an increasing interest in the islands next-door, with English being (absurdly) the lingua franca linking the two cultures (note that I lived in Taiwan at several different odd junctures of my life, for some number of months on each occasion, so I have only a fragmented sense of how the culture has changed, but still, this seemed new and noteworthy; during my first period of living in Taipei, many years ago, Japan seemed distant and rarely-thought-of).  The change shows up in the statistics as a significant leap in the numbers of tourists going from Taiwan to Japan (cf. the second chart, below: the growth is not in business-travelers); however, the feeling is not mutual.  Japanese interest in Taiwan has increased, but only modestly, during the same period of time.

"[Taiwan's President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Friday once again called for Japan to review what he considered an insufficient number of Japanese tourists visiting Taiwan in recent years, the third time he has aired such concerns in the past 15 days. […] Ma urged Japan to 'reflect upon' why there were only 780,000 Japanese visitors to Taiwan in the first half of the year, against 1.46 million Taiwanese tourists to Japan during the same period".