By Yaita Akio, Taipei
Increasing cooperation between Japan and Taiwan in the fields of industry, science and technology is attracting attention, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor contract manufacturer, planning to open a new factory in Kumamoto Prefecture in 2022 for operations to start in 2024. The “Taiwan Japan Academy,” a think tank for research on Japan which was established in September 2021, is expected to be a new leader in Japan-Taiwan exchange. “We want to build a bridge for collaboration between Japanese and Taiwanese industries,” said Li Hui-Shui, the academy’s director who is also a professor of the National Chengchi University in Taiwan.
On the establishment of the research institute, Li said, “The movement to rebuild supply chains is expanding globally amid the U.S.-China trade conflict. There is a need to strengthen cooperation between Japan and Taiwan, which share similar values, in the high-tech sector.”
According to Li, the economic exchange between Japan and Taiwan to date centered on trade, or sales and purchases of each other’s products. Li emphasized that the two countries will contribute their own technologies to “create new things together,” going forward. Li said that since Taiwan and Japan have different fields of expertise, “we can cooperate to develop new products, such as semiconductors and products using artificial intelligence (AI), to promote the integration of regional industries and contribute to the world economy.” The TSMC’s launch of a facility in Japan will be a litmus test for such cooperation.
The core members of the new research institute are mainly young Japanese researchers who teach at Taiwanese universities. The researchers also work closely with various agencies such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs (equivalent to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and high-tech companies such as TSMC. The academy is also collaborating with the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, a Japanese administrative agency.
Li said, “There were many channels for interacting with Japan in the days when the main players in Taiwan’s politics and economy were from the Japanese-speaking generation, such as former President Lee Teng-Hui. Nowadays there are fewer opportunities. I would like to cooperate in building a new form of Japan-Taiwan relations.”