More than half the population listed Japan as their favorite country, a survey conducted by Japan’s representative office in Taiwan has found.
Japan ranked far ahead of the US and China as the favorite foreign country of Taiwanese, being chosen by 52 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the Japan Interchange Association’s Taipei office, the country’s de facto embassy in Taiwan.
Only 8 percent of respondents said the US was their favorite country, while 5 percent said China.
“The results show that people in Taiwan and Japan have good feelings about each other in general,” said Chen Tyau-her (陳調和), secretary-general of the East Asian Relations Commission under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In terms of Taiwan-Japan relations, 28 percent described them as “good or very good,” and 63 percent said relations are “neither good nor bad.”
Around 62 percent of respondents described Japan as a “closely-related” country, with 13 percent among them saying that relations between Taiwan and Japan are “very close.” The number was down from last year’s 69 percent.
Japan is still highly popular among Taiwanese tourists, as 90 percent of respondents said it was a charismatic country and 44 percent said Japan was their preferred destination for an overseas trip.
Europe was the second favorite destination at 29 percent.
Economic, trade and industrial exchanges were listed by 20 percent of respondents as the area of greatest expectations for bilateral exchanges in the future.
However, Japan lagged behind China — 31 percent to 33 percent — as the most important country with which Taiwan should try to seek closer relations, the survey found. The US was third.
Among areas of concern in the bilateral relationship, 36 percent of respondents said they were most worried about fishing issues while 30 percent cited anxiety over the impact of the Japan-China relationship on Japan’s ties with Taiwan.
The Interchange Association concluded that while most Taiwanese still view the relationship with Japan as close, the percentage of those listing Japan as their favorite country has dropped from last year, and the appeal of Japanese food was also slightly down.