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Asia Minute: Japan Government Says Taiwan Situation Requires 'Sense of Crisis'

Japan Defense Taiwan Flag China
Chiang Ying-ying/AP
In this Jan. 19, 2021, file photo, a soldier holds a Taiwanese flag during a military exercise aimed at repelling an attack from China in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan. Japan believes rising tension surrounding Taiwan requires its attention “with a sense of crisis” as China intensifies military activities in the area and the United States steps up support for the self-governing island. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

There are developments this week in the relations between the two biggest economies in Asia. It’s a story that focuses on Taiwan and also includes the United States.

Japan’s government warns tensions over Taiwan could threaten its own security.

That caution comes from Japan’s Defense Ministry, the first time Taiwan has been mentioned in the ministry’s annual white paper.

“Stabilizing the situation surrounding Taiwan is important for Japan’s security and the stability of the international community,” the report said. “It is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said China is “strongly dissatisfied” with the report, calling it “extremely wrong and irresponsible.”

Japanese government officials have been increasingly vocal about Taiwan. In June, the Defense Minister said, “The peace and stability of Taiwan are directly connected to Japan.”

Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso spoke of Taiwan when he said, “If a major incident happened….Japan and the U.S. must defend Taiwan together.”

Taiwan security got a brief public mention when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met with President Biden in April.

Meanwhile, routine joint military exercises continue. The U.S. and Japan just wrapped up their largest annual maneuvers---Orient Shield.

One small part of that was a surface-to-air missile drill involving 70 personnel, held on a Japanese island a little more than 500 miles from Taiwan.

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