Japanese flock to Taiwan
The nation has become the most popular destination for Japanese families traveling during the “golden week” holiday that started yesterday, according to a Japanese travel agency. The number of Japanese travelers that made overseas travel bookings from yesterday to Sunday next week rose by 91 percent this year, Japan’s Rakuten Travel Inc said. The number of families that booked trips to Taiwan jumped by 220.6 percent from last year, representing the biggest increase compared with other destinations, the agency said. It attributed the increased interest to closer bilateral ties following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March last year.
Most inventions submitted
The nation’s delegation to the annual Concour Lepine invention fair in Paris submitted the most entries among foreign countries, fair president Gerard Dorey said yesterday. In the three years Taiwan has attended the fair, the number of inventions submitted has increased, with a total of 64 this year, Dorey said. More Taiwanese have heard of the Concour Lepine invention fair these days, which is why the number of entries from them continues to increase, said Hsu Yi-chuan (徐義權), an associate professor at National United University’s Department of Industrial Design, who has headed Taiwan’s delegation for the last two years. The 111th Concours Lepine will run until May 8.
Diplomat’s remains returned
The remains of a Taiwanese diplomat, found dead in the Dominican Republic earlier this month, the victim of an apparent murder, were brought back home yesterday. The ashes of Julia Ou (區美珍), a secretary responsible for overseas compatriot affairs in the Dominican Republic, were accompanied by her brother Ou Ming-te (區明德). Upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International airport, more than 50 officials and workers from the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission showed up to express their condolences. Ou Ming-te thanked the commission for its assistance in dealing with the situation and said he hoped the perpetrator would be brought to justice soon. Julia Ou, 55, was found stabbed to death at her home in Santo Domingo on April 18 after she failed to show up for work. Dominican Republic police said a special task force has been appointed to investigate the case and the Taiwan embassy there will be kept informed about the progress of the investigation.
Daiso increases food prices
In light of the appreciation of the Japanese yen, Daiso Shop, a Japanese discount store chain that became famous nationwide by selling all its goods for NT$39 (US$1), announced that starting on Tuesday, the prices of all foodstuffs at its stores across the country would be raised from NT$39 to NT$49, an increase of 25.6 percent. According to Daiso, 95 percent of foodstuffs sold at its stores are imported from Japan, but as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis and the rising value of the yen, imports have now become much more expensive, prompting the company to raise prices. The company said household goods would remain at NT$39 that for the time being, but added that if overhead costs continued to rise the company did not discount the possibility of a second round of price increases.