By KOICHIRO ISHIDA, Correspondent
TAIPEI–Japan is again the most favorite country among Taiwanese and the nation with which they most want to develop friendly ties, a survey showed.
The survey in January was the seventh since fiscal 2008 conducted by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association’s Taipei office, which is considered the equivalent of a Japanese embassy in Taiwan.
It asks around 1,000 Taiwanese aged between 20 and 80 the same questions.
For the question on which country or region they like the most, Japan was chosen by a record 60 percent of respondents, breaking the earlier high of 59 percent who picked Japan in the previous survey in fiscal 2018.
A record high ratio of 46 percent also chose Japan as the country or region they most want to be friendly with. That was up from 37 percent in the fiscal 2018 survey.
China was the second “most liked country or region,” but it was chosen by only 5 percent of respondents, down from 8 percent in the fiscal 2018 survey.
The United States was selected by 24 percent of respondents as the country or region that Taiwanese should most be friendly with, up from 15 percent. The United States placed second behind Japan in this category.
Other records were set for positive Taiwanese views of Japan.
Seventy percent said Japan and Taiwan currently maintain a good relationship, up 17 percentage points from the fiscal 2018 survey.
The percentage of respondents who said Japan is a country they can trust reached 60 percent, another record, from 50 percent in the previous survey.
After the fiscal 2018 survey was conducted, the Japanese government supplied Taiwan with the COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic.
Japan also increased imports of Taiwanese pineapples after China banned them last year.
These and other moves by Japan likely led to the more positive view about the country from Taiwanese.
The latest survey results also made clear that feelings toward China are cooling among Taiwanese.
Only 15 percent of them chose China as the country they should be friendly with the most.
That was less than half of the 31 percent who chose China in the previous survey and placed the country third in the ranking.
It was also the first time for China to score lower than the United States for this question.
For the question asking respondents to choose a country or region that most influences Taiwan, only 25 percent picked China, significantly less than the 45 percent the last time.
Again, the United States topped China for the first time in this category.
Fifty-eight percent picked the United States as the most influential for Taiwan, up from 33 percent in the last poll.
Thirteen percent chose Japan, down slightly from 15 percent in the previous survey.