Diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Japan were broken in 1972 - although non-governmental exchanges have continued through the post-Cold War period - and are now entering new era. Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, non-governmental exchanges that focus on close economic and trade ties and a multiplicity of cultural exchanges have promoted the smooth development of bilateral relations. Due to the diplomatic break-off, substantive relations need to be conducted through non-governmental organizations such as the “Interchange Association Japan(IAJ)” and the “Association of East Asia Relations ”.
The main purpose of this article is to examine Japan’s policy toward Taiwan, which is rooted in a structure of special mutual relations. It discusses the organizations, institutions, processes and actors involved in this interaction. Furthermore, an attempt is made to construct a model of Japan’s policy toward Taiwan through an analysis of three events: the current agreement on the mutual recognition of driver’s licenses, the visit of former President Lee Teng-Hui to Japan in 2001, and the yet to be achieved “Taiwan-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA)”in order to identify the critical factors deciding success or failure.
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