Sunday, June 10, 2007

Japanese Islanders Want Closer Relations With Taiwan

Japanese islanders want to open relations with Taiwan.....

HUALIEN, Taiwan--Twice snubbed by Tokyo, residents on Yonagunijima island, Japan's westernmost point, are banking on Taiwan for survival.

Town officials from Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture, opened a liaison office here last week to revive the close ties with Taiwan that were severed when Okinawa reverted to Japanese control in 1972.

"The survival of this most outlying island of Japan hinges on exchanges with Taiwan," said Yonaguni Mayor Shukichi Hokama.

For Yonaguni residents, Taiwan looms larger than any of Japan's main islands.

Yonagunijima is only 110 kilometers from Taiwan across the East China Sea.

By comparison, Okinawa Prefecture's main island is 500 km away.

Such examples show how, as in Africa, modern national colonial borders cut across traditional social and economic relationships. Islanders in the northwest Pacific, Taiwan, and the Philippines all had relationships with each other prior to the division of the area among the Powers. Taiwan is the last prize remaining in that Great Game....


Anonymous said...

I don't know what kind of links the people of Yonaguni have had with those living on Taiwan, though no doubt the short distance between them has resulted in a long history of contacts. The island had been part of the independent Ryukyu kingdom since the 12th century, and has been under Japanese control since 1609.

It would be great if some sort of direct link could be established between Taiwan and Yonaguni. At present, if you wish to visit the island, you have to fly to Naha (or take the ferry from Keelung), and then connect to a flight to Yonaguni. There are also flights and ferries from Ishigaki island (which I believe is also a stop on the Keelung-Naha ferry).

I've read that on a clear day, the mountains of Taiwan are visible from Yonaguni.

JZ said...

Yonaguni should have been part of Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

Taiwan should have stayed part of Japan.