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Japan is speaking up for Taiwan as it fights pressure from China. This is a dramatic shift in Tokyo's stance, which for decades avoided challenging Beijing because of its importance for Japan's economy.   © Illustration by Hiroko Oshima
Asia Insight

Taiwan grows ever closer to Japan over vaccines, China fears

Ties have blossomed since 2016 election of Beijing-skeptic Tsai

LOUISE WATT, Contributing writer | Taiwan

TAIPEI -- At the start of June, there was tension in Taiwan as it struggled to source vaccines to battle its first serious COVID-19 outbreak. Japan came to the rescue, flying in 1.24 million doses, more than doubling the island's supply.

Taiwan officials didn't mask their deep gratitude. "As foreign minister, I shouldn't share personal feelings in public," tweeted Joseph Wu. "But after yesterday's #Vaccine donation & the boiling emotions in #Taiwan, what the heck. I LOVE #JAPAN!"

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