In Japan, as in Taiwan, interest in President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inaugural address on Wednesday last week for her second term was widespread.
In her speech, which I listened to online, Tsai talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global political economic order and altered global supply chains.
This is an issue that Japan must also face, so I would like to present an idea for the people of Taiwan to consider.
In the wake of the pandemic, Japan and Taiwan must consider the risks arising from supply chains’ dependence on China, as well as the risks that arise from different value systems.
This will lead to supply chains being restructured according to the principle of the three kinds of proximity and three types of appropriateness.
These are: close proximity, close value systems and close degrees of technological development, and appropriate market scale, appropriate land and appropriate infrastructure.
Close proximity reduces transport risks, while close value systems reduce the risk of disputes.
As for closeness of technology, it facilitates horizontal division of labor and sparks innovation.
The importance of market scale, land and infrastructure go without saying. Japan and Taiwan are close to one another not only in geographically, but also in their value systems and degree of technological development.
Additionally, Japan has a large amount of relatively cheap land, along with well-developed infrastructure. Labor-intensive industries can deploy remote-controlled robots, which is one of Japan’s major strengths.
In her address, Tsai promised to promote technological integration between the military and the private sector.
This is another one of Japan’s strong points. As Taiwan’s military experts are aware, many US fighter jets incorporate Japanese civilian technology.
In my capacity as a writer and commentator, I encourage the Japanese government to promote cooperation between Japan and Taiwan in fields including national defense and security.
Let us hope that during Tsai’s second term, the cooperation between Japan and Taiwan will grow closer than it already is.
Gemki Fujii is a political commentator.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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