Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Japan still tops for Taiwanese

SURVEY:The Interchange Association, Japan’s poll found 75 percent of respondents feel they have a close connection with Japan, and a majority felt it was trustworthy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Japan remains the favorite foreign country and the most desirable travel destination for Taiwanese, far ahead of the US, China and the EU, a survey showed yesterday.

The Interchange Association, Japan, which represents Japan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic relations, yesterday released a survey on Taiwanese perceptions of Japan, the third of its kind since 2008.

Similar to the previous two surveys, most Taiwanese continued to list Japan as their favorite foreign country or region, with 41 percent of respondents choosing Japan, 8 percent opting for the US, 8 percent saying China and 6 percent preferring the EU, while 37 percent offered no opinions.

The survey found that 39 percent of respondents regarded China as the country or region with which Taiwan should have closer relations, followed by Japan with 29 percent of respondents, the US with 15 percent and the EU with 3 percent.

Sixteen percent of respondents did not identify a specific country.

It showed the first six most desirable travel destinations for Taiwanese were Japan, favored by 39 percent of respondents, followed by the EU (32 percent), China (14 percent), the US (5 percent), Southeastern Asian countries (4 percent) and South Korea (3 percent).

As for countries that respondents “have close a connection with,” 75 percent said Japan, an increase of 13 percent from the previous survey, while 53 percent said Taiwan and Japan enjoy cordial relations, up 28 percent from the 2009 survey.

Fifty-four percent of respondents felt Japan was a country worthy of trust, up from 41 percent two years ago, while only 10 percent did not consider Japan trustworthy, down from 12 percent from two years ago, the survey showed.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 last year also affected the willingness of Taiwanese to visit the country.

Among the respondents who said they would rather not visit Japan in the near future in the wake of the disaster, 50 percent were worried about radiation from the Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear power plant’s damaged reactors; 28 percent dropped Japan from their travel plans because of the yen’s appreciation, 12 percent were concerned about possible earthquakes and tsunamis, while 5 percent cited personal factors.

About 66 percent of respondent said that the relationship between Taiwan and Japan had grown closer since the disasters, while only 4 percent said it was less close than before, the survey found.

On issues that could negatively affect Taiwanese-Japanese relations, only 1 percent of respondents were concerned about the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) known as the Sendukus in Japan.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 30 to Feb. 22. It collected 1,009 valid samples.

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