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Asia Minute: Islamic State Threatens East Asia


The recent terror attacks in Brussels have brought a focus on the Islamic State’s activities in Western Europe. And while there continue to be related developments in the Middle East, concerns are also spreading to East Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The Japanese government warns that East Asia could be vulnerable to violence from the Islamic State.  Each year for the past two decades, a research group with Japan’s Defense Ministry has issued an “East Asia Strategic Review.”  The latest version—out Friday—dedicates an entire chapter to the threat of the Islamic State.

The National Institute for Defense Studies says the Islamic State “is threatening the security of East Asia, including Japan, by targeting the Asian people and Asian embassies in the Middle East, as well as recruiting foreign fighters from Asian countries.”

Last week, Turkey detained a 23 year old Japanese man suspected of trying to cross the border into Syria to join the Islamic State.  Last year, two Japanese nationals were executed by ISIS…including journalist Kenji Goto.  Earlier this month, another Japanese journalist appeared in an online video, about a year after he was believed to have been captured in Syria.

The Japanese report included a mention of China…saying the Islamic State has some territorial ambitions in China’s northwest…where a concentration of Muslims resides.  Elsewhere in Asia Friday, Malaysia’s national police chief announced 15 people have been arrested in recent days….suspected of planning attacks in the country.  Police say all of them have ties to the Islamic State.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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