Driven to compete with China in everything….

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to name this year “Taiwan-Japan Cultural Exchange Year,” sources in the ministry said.

The first quarter of the year will focus on the opening of the high-speed railway between Taipei and Kaohsiung, the sources said, adding that this would be followed by other exchanges showing off Japanese culture, drawing on the success of last year’s sumo exhibition.

The reason the ministry chose to make Japan the focus of its efforts this year is that China will be marking the 35th anniversary of Japan’s switch of diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China with a similar sports and cultural exchange.

China and Japan are planning a series of celebrations and exchange activities, a ministry source said.

The source added that ministry officials have complained that while China and Japan are spending a lot of money on the event, the ministry has not been given a special budget for its exchange year, since Tokyo and Taipei do not have diplomatic relations.

Taipei’s most important concern after maintaining relations with the US is maintaining good relations with Japan. Given Japan’s slow drift toward Taipei, why is there no special budget for cultivating Japan’s relations with Taiwan?