Overseas Compatriots in Japan
Japan is located in Northeast Asia. Its national territory comprises the four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, as well as over 3,000 smaller islands neighboring these main islands, and, further south, the islands of the Ryukyu archipelago (including Okinawa). The main administrative divisions within Japan include one Metropolis (Tokyo), one Circuit (Hokkaido), two Urban Prefectures (Kyoto and Osaka), and 43 Prefectures; Japan has a total land area of around 377,800 square kilometers, and a total population of approximately 126.32 million people (Source: Statistics Japan, JULY 2019 data).
Although Taiwan and Japan do not have formal diplomatic relations, Taiwan has established an Association of East Asian Relations in Japan, and Japan has established an Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taiwan, to handle matters relating to economic, trading, cultural, scientific, technological, and sporting exchange etc. between the two countries' citizens, and there are frequent visits from one country to the other by political figures (including legislators) etc. In 2005, Japan instituted a visa exemption scheme for citizens of Taiwan; this was followed in September 2007 by mutual recognition of drivers' licenses. In June 2009 a working holiday scheme was launched enabling Taiwanese young people to work in Japan and young Japanese to work in Taiwan, and in December 2009 Taiwan established a new representative office in Sapporo, Hokkaido. In 2009, the Japan National Diet approved a new law whereby Taiwanese citizens resident in Japan could have their nationality given as "Taiwan" rather than "China" on their alien registration cards. In November 2010, direct flights began between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Taipei's Songshan Airport. An investment agreement and open-skies agreement were signed between Taiwan and Japan in September 2011, and on 21st March 2012 Taiwan established the Taiwan-Japan Industrial Collaboration Promotion Office to serve as a contact window for investment promotion. These developments are all testimony to the friendly relationship that exists between Taiwan and Japan. More recently still, in 2013, Taiwan - Japan signed fisheries agreement, e-commerce cooperation agreement, MOU on the Cooperation in Priority Document Exchange (PDX), Pharmaceutical Regulatory Cooperation Framework Agreement, Memorandum of Cooperation in Railway Business, Cooperation agreement on maritime search aircraft and rescue, MOU on the Cooperation in Financial Surveillance. In 2014, Taiwan and Japan signed MOU on the Cooperation in Deposit of Biological Material for Patent Application, MOU on Strengthening Cooperation in the Tourism Industry Development, MOU on Nuclear control information exchange, MOU on Immigration Management and Data Exchange and Cooperation. In 2015, Taiwan and Japan signed Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation, MOU regarding the application of Competition laws, MOU on disaster prevention cooperation. In 2016, Taiwan and Japan signed MOU on Strengthening the exchange and cooperation in the field of product safety, MOU on the Cooperation in Language Education Exchange.
Areas served - The areas served by each of the Taiwanese representative offices in Japan (one main representative office and five other offices) are shown below:
(1) Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office in Japan:
Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi, Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Iwate, Akita, Aomori, Niigata and Nagano
(2) Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Osaka:
Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Aichi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Mie, Gifu, Hyogo, Kochi, Ehime, Shimane, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Nara, Wakayama, Tottori, Tokushima and Kagawa
(3) Fukuoka Branch, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Osaka:
Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Yamaguchi, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Kagoshima and Saga
(4) Taipei Representative Office in Yokohama:
Kanagawa and Shizuoka
(5) Naha Branch, Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office:
(6) Sapporo Branch, Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office:
According to Statistics on the Number of Foreign Residents in Japan - – 2019Edition, published by Japan Immigration Association, as of 2019, there were approximately 786,241Ethnic Chinese resident in Japan, of which around 61,960 were from Taiwan; the largest concentration of Taiwanese residents were in Tokyo (21,035).
Overseas Compatriot organizations in Japan:
Close family, religious and regional ties have led Overseas Compatriots to form various types of mutual-aid organization in the different parts of the world in which they reside. Within Japan, the Chinese Association in Japan functions as the umbrella organization for overseas community organizations, with individual organizations appointing delegates to represent them in the Association. In addition, in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, Overseas Compatriots have organized religious associations to provide spiritual comfort and support; these include the Tokyo International Church, and Japanese branches of the Buddha's Light International Association and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. Besides spreading their religious message, these organizations also provide advisory and support services for Overseas Compatriots living in Japan.
Overseas Compatriot schools in Japan:
There are three formally established Overseas Compatriot schools in Japan: the Tokyo Chinese School, the Yokohama Overseas Chinese School, and the Osaka Chinese School. The teaching at these schools uses Traditional Chinese Characters (as opposed to the Simplified Characters used in China) along with Taiwan's zhuyin fuhao system of phonetic notation; the teaching materials comprise textbooks published by Taiwanese publishing houses and by Taiwan's Overseas Community Affairs Council, supplemented by textbooks approved by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Overseas Compatriot chambers of commerce:
Taiwan is relatively close to Japan in geographical terms, and was under Japanese colonial rule during the period 1895 - 1945; during the pre-war period, a significant number of Taiwanese were engaged in trade between Taiwan and Japan. In the immediate post-war era, the fact that the Republic of China (which had taken possession of Taiwan after the war) was one of the victor nations meant that its citizens enjoyed a special status in Japan. In 1950, the Republic of China (R.O.C.) government helped ethnic Chinese (including Taiwanese) businesspeople resident in Japan to establish the Chinese Import-Export Association in Japan, which was renamed the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Japan in 1968. In 1978, Taiwanese businesspeople operating in Japan established the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Japan (now renamed Taiwan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Tokyo) to strengthen ties and facilitate mutual financial support. These two organizations have made an important contribution towards helping Taiwanese businesspeople in Japan developed their businesses. With the change in business models and increased ease of access to business information, the influence exerted by traditional chambers of commerce has tended to fall. Nevertheless, a number of other Taiwanese chambers of commerce have been established in various Japanese regions and cities, including the Kansai region, Fukuoka and Okinawa; in order to coordinate the activities of these different chambers of commerce, a Japan Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce was established in April 2013. Following the establishment of the Association of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Japan, the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Japan was renamed the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo in April 2013, on 26th April 2013 renamed the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Tokyo.