Ben Blanchard
For Ben Blanchard's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Taiwan's coast guard said it would continue to use radar, surveillance and patrols to ensure the "harmony and safety" of the waters near the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands, which are close to China's shores.
Feb 21, 2024
Taiwan drives away Chinese coast guard boat as tensions rise
The Chinese coast guard vessel had entered Taiwan's waters near Kinmen a day after officers from the agency boarded a Taiwanese tourist boat.
China announced on Sunday that its coast guard would begin regular patrols and set up law enforcement activity around the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen.
Feb 20, 2024
China coast guard 'triggers panic' by boarding Taiwanese tour boat
A Taipei minister said such vessels — both Chinese and Taiwanese — were not illegal and that they commonly enter the other side's waters by accident.
A Chinese warship takes part in a military drill across from the Taiwan-controlled Matsu Islands in April 2023.  The Taiwanese defense ministry reported the presence of 24 Chinese air force planes carrying out "joint combat readiness patrols" with Chinese warships near the island  on Wednesday
Jan 18, 2024
Taiwan reports first major Chinese military activity after polls
Warplanes and warships carried out "joint combat readiness patrols" near the island on Wednesday, the Taiwanese defense ministry said.
An empty flag pole where Nauru's flag used to fly at the Diplomatic Quarter, which houses embassies in Taipei, on Monday
WORLD / Politics
Jan 16, 2024
U.S. decries Nauru dropping Taiwan and warns on China's promises
U.S. officials have previously expressed concern at China whittling away at Taiwan's allies, especially in Central America.
Supporters hoist a giant Taiwan national flag during a campaign rally for Kuomintang ahead of Taiwan's presidential election, in Taipei on Saturday.
Dec 27, 2023
Whisky and a coal 'shack': Taiwan election is not only about China
The candidates are exchanging blows over everything from property disputes to whether drinking whiskey is out of touch.
Taiwan's vice president and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate Lai Ching-te. China has rebuked Lai as a dangerous separatist.
Dec 21, 2023
To China, all candidates are separatists, says Taiwan front-runner
The Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary elections will define Chinese-claimed Taiwan's ties with Beijing.
Wang Chih-chuan, 93, a Korean war prisoner who came to Taiwan and eventually fought in Kinmen, joined the Chinese army when he was 13, which he said was a result of press-ganging.
Dec 14, 2023
Taiwan's last generation to fight China
Veterans' vivid memories of war make them more likely to cling to their Chinese identity to avert another conflict, unlike most of Taiwanese society.
Lai Ching-te (left), Taiwanese presidential candidate from the Democratic Progressive Party, introduces Hsiao Bi-khim (right), former Taiwan representative to the United States, as his running mate in the 2024 election, during a news conference at Lai's campaign headquarters in Taipei on Monday.
Nov 21, 2023
Taiwan poll about whether to embrace China or not, front-runner says
Taiwan has to choose whether the island keeps moving forward on the road to democracy or "walks into the embrace of China," Lai Ching-te said.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office representative Hsiao Bi-khim waits to be introduced during the opening ceremony of the first ever Taiwan Expo in Washington on Oct. 12, 2022.
Nov 16, 2023
Taiwan presidential frontrunner taps U.S. envoy as running mate
Born in Japan to a Taiwanese father and American mother, Hsiao Bi-khim has been Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the U.S. since 2020.
Kuomintang head Eric Chu, Hou Yu-ih, the party's presidential candidate, former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and the People’s Party chief Ko Wen-je posing for a group photo in Taipei on Wednesday. The two parties have agreed to team up to take on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in the January election.
Nov 15, 2023
Taiwan opposition unite to challenge presidential front-runner
The island's two main opposition parties have vowed to renew talks with China even as the ruling party decries interference from Beijing.
Taiwan Vice President and presidential candidate Lai Ching-te
Oct 24, 2023
Taiwan presidential front-runner assails China's Foxconn probe
The major Apple supplier is facing a tax probe in China, two sources close to the company said Monday, confirming a report in Chinese state-run media.
Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong (left) while being monitored by a Taiwanese Keelung class warship (right) at sea. Taiwan said on Wednesday that it had detected numerous Chinese warplanes around the island.
Sep 13, 2023
Taiwan reports 28 Chinese air force planes in its air defense zone
Taipei said that war planes, including J-10 fighters, had flown into the southwestern corner of the island's air defense identification zone, or ADIZ.
Japan Times
Jul 11, 2023
Foxconn exits $19.5 billion venture with Vedanta to build chip plant in India
The world"s largest contract electronics manufacturer signed a pact with its Indian partner last year to set up semiconductor and display production plants in the state of Gujarat.
Japan Times
Jul 4, 2023
China buzzes Taiwan's median line as Taipei officials caution against alarm
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory despite the island"s strong objections, has over the past three years reported almost daily missions by Chinese military aircraft nearby.
Japan Times
Jun 9, 2023
Taiwanese foreign minister to make trip to Europe next week, sources say
Central and Eastern European countries have been particularly keen to show support for Taiwan — especially following Russia"s invasion of Ukraine.
Japan Times
Apr 12, 2023
Trip shows Taiwan determined to safeguard freedom and democracy, Tsai says
"Faced with continued authoritarian expansionism, it is even more critical for democracies to actively unite," she said.
Japan Times
Dec 27, 2022
Taiwan to extend conscription to one year, citing rising China threat
China's growing assertiveness toward the island, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have prompted debate calls to boost defense.
Japan Times
Oct 12, 2022
Fearing war in Xi's next term, Taiwan bolsters defenses
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has made modernizing the country's armed forces a priority, developing what she has called "comprehensive asymmetric warfare capabilities."
Japan Times
Sep 19, 2022
Strong earthquake in southeastern Taiwan kills one and injures 146
More than 600 people are trapped on the scenic Chike and Liushishi mountain areas by blocked roads, though there were no injuries and rescuers were working to reopen the roads.
Japan Times
Sep 16, 2022
'Humor over rumor': Taiwan eyes Ukraine messaging model if China attacks
Taiwan is looking at Ukraine's ways of communicating its message to the outside world at a time of conflict, by making use of tools such as satellites and deploying humor.


Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves