Closer Japan-Taiwan ties needed
By Genki Fujii 藤井嚴喜
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
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
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
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