The head of Taiwan’s Government Information Office on Friday praised increases in the coverage of Taiwan by the Japanese media since last year, when seven news institutions opened bureaus in Taipei.

There are now eight Japanese news bureaus, all major newspapers and television networks, in Taipei, and three more are seeking permission to open their offices, Chien-jen Chen, director general of the Taiwanese GIO, said during a visit to The Japan Times.

Coverage by Japanese media increased substantially,even doubled for some organizations, Chen said, adding that he is confident such coverage will further increase in coming years because of the growing importance of Taiwan’s economic activities, political developments and Taiwan-China relations.

Taiwan’s economy grew 4.8 percent in 1998, lower than previous years but stronger than many other Asian neighbors amid the economic crisis, the pending presidential election slated for next year, and the closer contacts between Taipei and Beijing, the Taiwanese government spokesman said.

In Thursday’s talks in Taipei, officials from Taiwan and China agreed that Wang Daohan, China’s top negotiator on cross-strait ties, would make a landmark visit to Taiwan in September or October for talks on improving relations.

Chen said that because of close Japan-Taiwan relations, Japanese media now cover Taiwan firsthand, and many organizations are showing an interest in cultural aspects of Taiwan, not just in economics and politics.

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