Tanaka's fly to the warning track in left allowed Nobuhiro Matsuda to score from third. Toshiya Suguichi retired Taiwan in the bottom of the 10th for the save.
"There is nothing better than coming through for your teammates and fans when you get a chance like that," Tanaka said. "This was a huge win for us, and I'm glad I was able to contribute."
Japan will face the Netherlands on Sunday with a chance to secure a spot in the March 17-19 final round in San Francisco. Without any players on Major League Baseball rosters, Japan is attempting to win a third straight WBC title.
The Netherlands beat Cuba 6-2 on Friday. Taiwan must beat Cuba on Saturday to advance.
Taiwan took a 3-2 lead in the eighth when Szu-Chi Chou's singled scored Cheng-Min Peng from third. Hirokazu Ibata's two-out single scored Takashi Toritani from third from third with the tying run in the ninth.
Taiwan held a 2-0 lead through eighth inning before Japan tied the score with a two-run eighth.
"This was an entire team effort," Japan manager Koji Yamamoto said. "Our hitters came through when we needed them and the pitchers did a great job."
More Sports Headlines
Silvertips assistant coach Love turns second chance into gold Art Thiel: Cougs, Dawgs reverse their traditional roles QB Luke Falk not in uniform for Apple Cup 12:22 p.m. No. 10 Gonzaga holds off No. 18 UConn 73-70 12:20 p.m. Cowboys QB Romo out for the season 11:56 a.m. Bucks’ Jason Kidd suspended for conduct toward ref 11:54 a.m. Seahawks coaches agree they made mistake not starting Lewis at center Steelers’ wide receiver tandem may be best in NFL
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.