Japan-Taiwan friendship, always here

An interview with Hiroyasu Izumi, Chief Representative of the Japan–Taiwan Exchange Association

The Japan–Taiwan Exchange Association (formerly the Interchange Association) was established as a foundation in 1972 following the normalization of relations between Japan and China. Today, the Japan–Taiwan Exchange Association consists of the Tokyo Head office, Taipei office and Kaohsiung office and activities include protecting Japanese nationals, issuing visas, developing economic and cultural relationships, managing coordination with Taiwanese stakeholders and engaging in various research projects. Synergy Media Specialists spoke with the Chairman of the Japan–Taiwan Exchange Association Mr. Hiroyasu Izumi.

Synergy Media Specialists: How important is it for Japan and Taiwan to strengthen their economic relationship?

Hiroyasu Izumi: “As essential partners, Japan and Taiwan have developed economic ties in various fields over several decades. It is important to strengthen our relationship in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and we believe our cooperation will continue and together we will find solutions to global challenges.”

“Firstly, both Japan and Taiwan promote renewable energy solutions in order to reduce carbon emissions. As a country, Japan has set itself the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Offshore wind power and hydrogen solutions are contributing to energy challenges in Japan. Taiwan wants renewable energy solutions to account for twenty percent of its energy needs by 2025. To meet this target Taiwan is promoting offshore wind power and solar photovoltaic cell solutions and many Japanese companies are participating in energy projects in Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan’s cooperation will boost renewable energy solutions and contribute to a carbon-neutral global society.”

“Secondly, the resilience of global supply chains is vital for sustainable growth. The importance of robust supply chains was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic and during any U.S.-China trade friction.”

“Furthermore, shortages of automotive semiconductor chips revealed the importance of strong semiconductor supply chains for today’s digital society. While Taiwanese companies dominate the global semiconductor manufacturing market, Japanese companies are strong suppliers of equipment and materials for semiconductor manufacturing. Japan and Taiwan’s close cooperation has lead to the resilient supply chain we see today.”

“It is important to strengthen the Taiwan-Japan Relationship in order to achieve sustainable economic growth. We believe our cooperation will continue and together we will find solutions to global challenges.”

Synergy Media Specialists: What does the future hold, post-pandemic, for Japan and Taiwan in terms of trade and culture ties?

Hiroyasu Izumi: “Economic, travel and trade ties between Japan and Taiwan have been stable over the last ten years. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications both revealed the number of tourists between Japan and Taiwan exceeded seven million for the first time in 2019.”

“According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance, total trade between Japan and Taiwan since 2017 has amounted to over JP¥ 7trillion and reveals our close economic partnership. We saw travel restrictions in 2020 due to the pandemic. This lead to the number of Japanese visitors to Taiwan and Taiwanese visitors to Japan decrease to 960,000, an 86.3 percent drop from the previous year. On the other hand, the pandemic had almost no impact on trade statistics and these figures show the strong economic relationship between Japan and Taiwan.”

  • JP¥ 4.7trillion (US$ 44.4billion) – Exports from Japan to Taiwan.
  • JP¥ 2.9trillion (US$ 27.4billion) – Imports from Taiwan to Japan.
  • JP¥ 7.6trillion (US$ 71.8billion) – The amount of total trade between Japan and Taiwan, maintaining the previous year’s level.

“In terms of transportation costs, the pandemic has impacted a wide range of industries, including the transportation of automobile components due to shipping container shortages. Transportation costs between Japan and Taiwan have risen rapidly. According to one Japanese company operating in Taiwan, transportation costs between Yokohama port and Keelung port are six times higher than last year.”

“With regards to travel between Japan and Taiwan, there is a high interest among Taiwanese to travel to Japan and the number of Taiwanese visitors to Japan is expected to increase significantly with the lifting of travel restrictions. Taking first place as Taiwan’s ‘most favored travel destination after the pandemic’, Japan won 42.1 percent of the votes in a survey for major Taiwan business magazine “遠見”.”

“Trade remained in line with yearly averages despite increases in transportation costs in 2020. Trade is expected to increase once the shipping container shortages and the rise of transportation costs are resolved. Demand for electronic components and semiconductors is expected to increase. Key industries have realized the importance of restructuring their supply chains and recognize the risks involved in centralized production and procurement. The digitalization and digital transformation of businesses will lead to increased demand within the semiconductor, information technology and electronics industries and we expect trade in these sectors to increase accordingly.”

“2021 marks a decade years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. In the wake of the earthquake, Taiwan donated more than NT$ 6.8billion and offered relief supplies in addition to dispatching rescue teams to affected areas. Japan rediscovered Taiwan which is an extremely crucial partner and an important friend.”

“Late last year The Japan–Taiwan Exchange Association launched a new original logo ‘Japan-Taiwan Friendship, Always Here’. With this logo, the Japan-Taiwan friendship campaign is now underway and we will carry out a series of cultural events to express our sincere gratitude to Taiwan and the people here for their help and friendship.”


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