2011 Taiwan Taiwan Versus Japan

Two very similar but subtly different countries …

(1) Train

Taiwan Japan
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(2) Street scene at night time

Taiwan Japan
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(3) Worshiping in Temple, Shrine

Taiwan Japan
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Taiwan Japan
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Taiwan Japan
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(4) Food

Taiwan Japan
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(5) Garden

Taiwan Japan
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(6) Fashion

Taiwan Japan
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I think young women get the latest fashion information no matter where they are.
So, I think the result of this match is a tie.

(7) Climate (Taipei versus Tokyo)
temps_2cities.png
Note: 90 degree in Fahrenheit is 32.2 degree in Celsius.

(6) Prices
"It (World Bank) found that Taiwan’s housing was a third cheaper than Japan’s, even though Taiwan’s population density is 90% higher. The bank also found that Taiwan’s food was half the cost of Japan’s. Its price checkers did their best to compare like with like, matching the price of staples and delicacies in each country."
(Economist article)

My experience confirmed the above statements. The food prices were half (or less than half) the food prices in Japan.
However, the housing prices in Taipei were found much higher than I thought. A small apartment could cost well above a million US$ if the location is excellent.

(8) GDP per capita (at purchasing-power parity)
Taiwan and Japan Breaking formation (Economist article)
"In 2010, according to the IMF, Japan’s income per head will amount to $33,800; Taiwan’s will be over $34,700 (see chart)."
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"Of course, calculated at market rates, Japan’s per capita income ($42,300) is still far higher than Taiwan’s ($18,300)."
"… Japan’s punishingly high prices still take a toll on its residents’ standard of living."

(9) Gender equality
"… working women in Taiwan face less discrimination in the workplace than do their counterparts in Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea)."
"Recent reforms have eased the burden somewhat in Japan and South Korea, but it is in Taiwan that the most progress toward gender equality has been made."
quoted from "Working for Change: Gender Inequality in the Labor Force in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan", Rebecca C. Tompkin, 2011

The following table also confirms that sexual equality in Taiwan is well ahead of Japan while Japan is economically placed ahead of Taiwan.

Taiwan Japan Note
2009
GEM rank
22-nd 57-th
2009
HDI rank
25-th 10-th

GEM: Gender Empowerment Measure (which accounts for the percentage of women in positions of political and economic power, as well as differences in income between women and men)
HDI: Human Development Index (which measures quality of life without taking gender differences into account)

"As far as sexual equality is concerned, Taiwanese society is about as equitable as you're going to find anywhere in Asia."
page 51, Lonely Planet Taiwan (2007)

(10) National Psyche
"'Friendly' is often used to describe the Taiwanese, often followed by 'relaxed'. The latter is especially true when compared with Taiwan's close neighbors (physically, and to some extent, culturally), Japan and South Korea, where people there are often as 'industrious', 'polite', and 'reserved' - but rarely 'relaxed'."
page 41, Lonely Planet Taiwan (2007)

(11) Crime rate
I couldn't find recent data that shows two countries.
The following is taken from the data which was taken from various statistical sources for 1998.

Taiwan Japan Note
Murder 1.17 0.58 per 100,000
Rape 8.82 1.48 ditto
Serious Assault 37.30 15.40 ditto
Robbery 14.35 2.71 ditto

(12) Sales Tax

Taiwan Japan
5% 5%
(10% in near future)

In both countries, list price includes sales tax (not obvious from the receipt).

A sample receipt from my Taiwan trip

front back
taiwan_receipt_front.png taiwan_receipt_back.png

All retail stores use the same government issued paper (with watermark) to print out their receipts. I thought it was done to put the 100-th anniversary message on every receipt. But I later learned that it was done to prevent tax evasion. Each retailer needs to pay 5% of their sales to the government. But many retailers cheated by not issuing receipts. The government came up with an idea of making the sales receipt be a lottery ticket, then all buyers would eagerly seek their receipts (the more receipts, the higher the chance to get a prize). Ingenious, isn't it?

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