Japan’s deputy defense minister: “We must wake up” to China’s attempts to occupy Taiwan

A senior Japanese official says democracies should wake up to China’s attempts to encroach on Taiwan and be ready to deter Beijing from crossing that red line.

Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama attended a seminar at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, via video on Monday (June 28, 2021). He called the “democratic state” of Taiwan not only an ally of Japan, but also a brother and part of the same extended family, but China’s military threat to Taiwan is intensifying, including constant live military exercises throughout Taiwan’s periphery.

Nakayama said that “we must wake up” to China’s attempts to seize Taiwan because of its proximity to the Japanese island of Okinawa, where a U.S. military base is located.

He added that China is strengthening its military cooperation with Russia, which will further increase the military threat to Taiwan, to Japan and even to the United States.

In front of the American audience and viewers, Yasuhide Nakayama said at the seminar that Japan wants a stronger U.S. military to deter Beijing’s aggression. He also reiterated Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi’s recent decision that Japan will no longer limit defense spending to one percent of GDP and that the level of defense spending will be determined by the level of security threat.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the Japanese vice defense minister’s remarks “seriously violate Japan’s repeated solemn commitment not to consider Taiwan a country” and “exaggerate the so-called China threat with sinister intentions. The Chinese side has already lodged serious representations with the Japanese side.

The joint statement issued by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga following his visit to the White House in April this year at the U.S.-Japan Leaders Summit emphasized the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which also drew strong opposition from China.

Since then, at a plenary session of the Japanese House of Representatives, a member of the opposition party asked whether Japan would become militarily involved in Taiwan Strait-related issues in line with the U.S. military strategy to confront China. Suga responded that the U.S.-Japanese statement mentioned Taiwan “not as a precondition for military involvement.