This article compares Taiwan's guest worker program and Japan's Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) program to examine how intimate labor and affective labor are culturally defined and institutionally regulated in different ways. Facing the similar problems of population aging and care deficit, Taiwan and Japan have nevertheless adopted divergent approaches to recruiting and training migrant care workers (“deferential surrogates” vs. “professional others”). This comparison demonstrates national diversity in the intersecting formation of care regime and migration regime. It also shows that cultural values and social practices associated with care, such as familism and gendered division of care work, are subject to transformation under the influence of state intervention and transnational outsourcing.

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