TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- During an international friendly between the national teams of Japan and Taiwan, a Japanese TV station listed the Taiwanese baseball team as "Taiwan," not "Chinese Taipei," raising eyebrows among netizens in Taiwan.
In preparation for the return of baseball to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, the national teams of Taiwan and Japan squared off in an international friendly in Fukuoka, Japan, yesterday (Nov. 7). During a live broadcast of the game, TV Asahi used the Japanese Kanji (漢字, Chinese characters) for the word Taiwan (台湾) to label the team on the screen, rather than its official, though highly maligned, Olympic name "Chinese Taipei" and the standard Japanese transliteration of the team's name in English English (チャイニーズタイペイ, Chinese Taipei).
Despite the usage of Taiwan to label the team, it still included an image of the Chinese Taipei flag in the background, rather than the national flag of Taiwan. A Taiwanese citizen working for a trading company in Japan, who goes by the handle Romi-Omi, spotted the use of the name "Taiwan" and immediately posted a screenshot of the game on the social media site Reddit, where it gained 337 upvotes.
A referendum to change Taiwan's Olympic team name from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan" before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is now on the ballot as a referendum during the Nov. 24 elections in Taiwan, having already gained the required threshold of signatures and been approved by Taiwan's Central Election Committee (CEC) on Oct. 8. There is a groundswell of support among Japanese in favor of Taiwan changing the name of its Olympic team from "Chinese Taipei" to "Taiwan," including an online campaign called "Taiwan 2020 Tokyo" which is petitioning the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to change the name, arguing that the current name violates the Olympic Charter.
However, the owner of TV Asahi, Asahi Shimbun, has been known to take a decidedly pro-China stance in its reporting. Thus, the rationale for the name usage is mysterious.
Team Taiwan ultimately won the game 6-5, outhitting Japan 11-5. Taiwan was also aided by solid pitching from Chiang Chen-yen (江辰晏) and four other pitchers, who combined for seven strikeouts and eight scoreless innings.
Original image posted on Reddit. (Image by Romi-Omi)
The Republic of China (ROC) first competed in the Olympics beginning in 1932, but in 1975, the People's Republic of China (PRC) applied to participate in the games and insisted that the ROC (Taiwan) be decertified in the process. After much controversy over whether the ROC could participate in the 1976 Montreal games in Canada, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of current Canadian President Justin Trudeau) suggested the ROC compete as "Taiwan," as a compromise. The ROC government at the time refused his terms and boycotted the games.
Taiwan was not allowed back into the Olympics until the so-called "Nagoya Resolution" was passed in Nagoya, Japan in 1979 by the IOC, which dictated that Taiwan must use the ambiguous name "Chinese Taipei" and not use its national flag or anthem.