2016 Volume 125 Issue 8 Pages 61-87
This article analyzes the process of how Japan-Taiwan relations in the field of medicine were reestablished during the post-World War II era by focusing on measures to control parasitic diseases in Taiwan during the 1960s and 70s and medical cooperation given by Japan in that effort. The research to date on the history of health care in Taiwan has pointed out a continuation from 1945 to the 1950s of various aspects in the medical profession from the Japanese colonial period, then argues that “Americanization” under US foreign aid took over during the 1950s and 60s, in an attempt to “de-Japanize” Taiwanese medicine. Consequently, the research has dismissed efforts made at reestablishing relations between the Japanese and Taiwanese medical professions from the 1950s on. The analysis offered in the present article on such relations during the 60s and 70s takes up the issue of how Japan became involved in Taiwan during efforts by the Taiwanese medical profession to decolonize under the Nationalist government regime and US foreign aid.
There is no doubt that from the 1950s onward Taiwan's healthcare system and medical profession went through a process of “Americanization” under US foreign aid. However, this does not necessarily mean that relations between the Taiwanese and Japanese medical professions were discontinued; rather those relations were reestablished in the exchange of technical knowledge based on personal relationships formed during the pre-War era. It was these personal bonds which would evolve into medical cooperation formally institutionalized by the Taiwanese and Japanese governments around 1970.
As far as measures to control parasitic disease is concerned, after US foreign aid to Taiwan was discontinued and support for parasitic disease control from international organizations cut off, along with changes in domestic disease prevention policy, both technical and financial support for controlling parasitic disease became insufficient・ It was at this time that Japan began to promote overseas medical cooperation to globalize the benefits of its experience in the field of parasitic disease control.
This resulting Japanese medical cooperation pushed forward in Taiwan a transition from its traditional parasitic disease control measures centered around improvements in sanitation to scheduled group insecticide measures based on the school children's medical insurance system. Meanwhile, Taiwanese parasitologists were making strides in the study and prevention of roundworm disease, which were applied to parasite control measures on top of Japanese medical cooperation. At the same time, the Japanese parasitology profession saw the opportunity to revive its activities in East Asia through medical cooperation with Taiwan, which led to the present Japanese global advances in that field.