Interesting Survey

Michael Turton posted an interesting survey from Japan the other day.  (Liberty Times also had the same report, but couldn’t find it now).  The result of survey from the report summarized as follow:

which country Taiwan should be closer to?

  • China – 33%
  • Japan – 31%
  • USA – 16%

Have feelings of attachment to Japan?

  • Agree or Strongly Agree – 62%

Other than Taiwan, which is your favorite country?

  • China – 5%
  • Japan – 52%
  • USA – 8%

This survey is quite interesting in many ways.  I always thought Taiwan and Japan has some interesting relationship.  A lot of hard and soft infrastructure of Taiwan are from Japan, as mentioned by Mr. Turton.  Even the newer ones such as HSR and Taipei 101 has major Japanese components.  There are also a lot of subtle cultural connections and influences.   It’s interesting that many people in Taiwan look to Japan for positive inspirations in school system, TV shows, movies and culture etc.  However, this does not mean Japanese culture and Taiwanese culture are all the same or similar.  In fact, there are many differences between Japanese and Taiwanese culture.  The important thing though is that Taiwanese have favorable view of Japan, and the survey shows it clearly.

However, there is something that really puzzles me, and that is on the question of which country should Taiwan be closer to.  Between Japan and China, it’s half and half.  However, this contradicts question on favorite country in a way.  This means that a lot of Taiwanese think Taiwan should be closer to China even though it’s the least favored country.  The reasons behind it could be interesting.  I for one cannot figure out their logics behind it.  Could it be pure economic reasons? or because they think Taiwan is already close to Japan and the US?  or what?  I do not know.

Another interesting thing is how low most Taiwanese view the USA.  This is very interesting.  A lot of countries in the world have anti-American populations.  In Taiwan though, there are much less.  However, it appears Taiwanese view toward the US is not favorable.  Recently the US image around the world hit rock bottom, that is for sure.  However, in a lot of ways, the percentage should be a lot higher.  The US government provided military support for Taiwan in a sense.  The US companies often form partnership with Taiwanese companies.  So on the surface there is not a lot of  reasons for it to be low.

However, if we think about it…there are many reasons.  For one, even though the US aids Taiwan in terms of military, the support is half-ass at best.  The US constantly deem necessary weapons as “offensive”, and refuse to sell to Taiwan.  Even the defensive one, the US government constantly yield to Chinese pressure and delay or refuse the sells.  While the US constrain Taiwan in various manners, it allows China free reign on its purchases from Russia.  This is indeed an unfair treatment to Taiwanese.  On the international front, the US does not fair well neither.  It constantly stands on Chinese side in pressuring Taiwan on various issues.  Furthermore, it offers virtually no help on Taiwan difficult situation in joining international organizations.  Of course, a lot of other countries, including Japan, also don’t help, but the US is the one that stands out because it’s the current super power that “advocates democracy.”  A lot of these are result of current US policies, but my point is simply that the result of this policies do not put them in favorable light in Taiwanese eyes.  Taiwanese view alone is not that important to the US probably, but it is interesting nevertheless.

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