Taiwan has notably had a friendly relationship with Japan, with Japan held in high regard despite Japan’s former colonization of Taiwan. This is unlike many other former colonies of Japan, seeing as the Japanese colonial period become remembered nostalgically after the KMT came to Taiwan by many, with the Japanese colonial period seen as a time in which Taiwan’s infrastructure was modernized and its education system highly improved.
Two Japanese girls holding signs of support for the Sunflower Movement referencing Taiwanese aid to Taiwan following the 311 Tohoku earthquake in 2011. Photo credit: ETToday
Friendly relations between Japan and Taiwan were visible in the Sunflower Movement, with expressions of support from Japanese participants. In particular, in a well-known incident, a Japanese man held a sign stating that he would never forget Taiwanese support for Japan after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, with Taiwan donating over US$252 million in combined aid, as one of the highest and contributors after the incident. There are other similar incidents from other Japanese participants.
In particular, as the contemporary Taiwanese anti-nuclear movement is a post-Fukushima development, there had previously been talk of cooperation between the weekly 4-5-6 Movement anti-nuclear protest and weekly Japanese anti-nuclear demonstrations because of the shared issue of nuclear power facing Taiwan and Japan. The 4-5-6 movement often featured speakers from Japan.
Banner seen in the occupation site on 330. Photo credit: Black Island Youth Front/Facebook
Unsurprisingly, then, outreach efforts to Japan took place, with livestream translations into Japanese and streaming on NicoNico and solidarity activities coordinated by overseas Taiwanese students in Japan. Japanese scholar of intellectual thought Koyasu Nobukuni visited the Legislative Yuan and met with Lin Fei-Fan and the Baomin (報民) newspaper, assembled and distributed during the Sunflower Movement and first released on 3/30, explain the TPP, RCEP, ECFA, and other FTA agreements, also produced an issue in Japanese. There were also multiple groups of Taiwanese students in Japan which sought to link up with Japanese civil society groups in support of the movement.