Taiwan is absolutely in a upswing, and on many measures way ahead of Japan(and most other Asian countries).
Freedom of press, Taiwan is ranked 42nd, which would be the first place in Asia.I think Reporters without Borders are also opening their first asian offices in Taipei.
Taiwan is on course to be the first country in Asia to legalise same sex marriage(although this has not happened yet), but nonetheless it says Taiwanese are quite progressive.
Taiwan is pushing trough some pretty contentious pension reform, which will put their future finances on a much more stable footing(when again in Japan you got public debt at over 200% gdp)
Also, the economy is doing pretty okay and the vast majority of Taiwanese have seen significant increases in their purchasing power the last 2-3 years as property prices have come down(I think the % who rent here are in single digits, but maybe someone here knows the correct number ?)
In addition to the above there is a serious effort to change the energy mix to be more environmentally friendly, judicial reform, etc. So, a lot of things happening and things do seem to be getting better.