Despite the DPP's win in the Kaohsiung mayoral election, it is safe to assume that Mr. Chen won't be able to recover his former influence in the party and that rivalry among leading DPP members for the 2008 presidential race will intensify.
For his part, Mr. Ma will probably have a harder time gaining support as a presidential candidate because of his inability to take full advantage of the favorable pre-election conditions for his party. Moreover, there is a report that Mr. Ma, the outgoing Taipei mayor, may be indicted in connection with his use of special funds in the mayor's office. He is likely to be challenged by other powerful KMT politicians. All told, Taiwan's political situation appears more fluid.
Meanwhile, another small sign of warming relations:
People with Taiwanese driver's licenses may soon be allowed to drive in Japan during short-term stays, government sources said Tuesday.
The National Police Agency plans to present a bill to revise the Road Traffic Law to allow for the change, requested by Taiwan, during the next Diet session, which will begin next month.
Taiwanese cannot get international driver's licenses because Taiwan hasn't joined the Convention on Road Traffic, which has about 90 signatory countries and territories, including Japan.
Taiwanese visitors to Japan grew 18 percent to hit a record 1.27 million in 2005, according to the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry. They were the second-largest group that year and accounted for 18 percent of all foreign arrivals.
[Taiwan] [Japan] (Hat tip to Sponge Bear)