Fri, Mar 22, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan-Japan visa program to expand

WORKING HOLIDAYS:Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Chiou I-jen said that the program enhances cultural understanding between the two nations

By Peng Wan-hsin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Chiou I-jen, second right, and Japanese Representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata, right, pose for a photograph at a news conference in Taipei yesterday beside Japanese expatriate Kazuhiro Jinpei, left, and Taiwanese expatriate Wang Wen-hsuan.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The annual quota for young people joining the Taiwan-Japan working holiday program is to be doubled from next month, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association said yesterday.

The association, which represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei to mark the 10th anniversary of the program.

Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said that Taiwan is grateful for the Japanese government and the Japanese association’s decision to boost the quota to 10,000 for each side.

The program enhances genuine cultural understanding between the two nations by giving young Taiwanese first-hand experience of living and working in Japan, Chiou said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan should improve its attractiveness to visitors, as the quota of 5,000 young Japanese is not being filled, he said.

Launched in 2009, the program is open to people from either side aged 18 to 30. The annual quota in 2014 was increased from 2,000 to 5,000 for each side.

The Japanese government said 8,436 Taiwanese last year applied to visit Japan under the program.

Kazuhiro Jinpei, who visited Taiwan through the program in 2015, said he did not speak Chinese at the time and had never been outside of Japan previously.

“I admire the optimism and the spirit among young people in Taiwan to confront challenges,” he said, adding that his time in Taiwan gave him a deeper understanding of the cultures of both sides.

“I hope more Taiwanese and Japanese take advantage of the working holiday program to understand each other’s cultures,” he said. “They should just do it and not worry.”

Wang Wen-hsuan (王文萱), a Taiwanese woman who has lived in Japan for a decade, said Taiwanese interested in the program should not deny their heritage.

“I would ask them to combine the good things they learn in a foreign culture with that of their own,” Wang said. “With this attitude, they will find success in work and life.”

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