TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — More than a third of Japanese high school students choose Taiwan as the preferred destination for their overseas educational trips.
Out of 170,000 Japanese high school students, 60,000, or 35 percent, chose Taiwan for a tour abroad in 2018, said Lee Shyh-bing (李世丙), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka. Feedback on the trips was overwhelmingly positive.
It’s a century-old custom for Japanese students from the primary to secondary education level to go on such trips. It's seen as a way to learn about different cultures and hone group-living skills in a foreign environment.
Lee said one in every two public high schools in Japan favors Taiwan as the destination for such trips. Taiwan has seen its reputation boosted via word of mouth among pupils, CNA quoted Lee as saying.
One positive impression was the encounter between a group of Japanese students and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during an excursion to the Presidential Office in December 2019. It was filmed to promote Taiwan tourism.
The relative proximity to Japan, good social order, and low tuition fees have also made Taiwan appealing to Japanese youth as a place to pursue tertiary education.
Taiwan and Japan have forged a cordial relationship over the years, having built close trade ties and helped each other in disaster relief. According to a survey published by Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Japan earlier this week, up to 77.6 percent of Japanese feel an affinity toward Taiwan, citing the hospitality of its citizens and a longstanding history of engagement between the two countries, up 11 percent from the 2016 poll.
A group of Japanese high school students visit the Presidential Office. (YouTube video)