When asked by a reporter how Japan’s government views Beijing’s record-breaking flyovers inside Taiwanese airspace in recent weeks, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu said he wants the military tensions “resolved peacefully between the two parties through direct talks.”
“Additionally, instead of simply monitoring the situation, we hope to weigh the various possible scenarios that may arise to consider what options we have, as well as the preparations we must make,” he added in a press briefing.
Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo appeared to walk back Motegi’s statement in comments to the media on Tuesday, reiterating that Tokyo wants Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to resolve their disputes via dialogue.
“It is Japan’s consistent stance that we hope the issue surrounding Taiwan will be resolved through direct dialogue between the party involved,” Kishi told reporters.
Japan has some stake in a potential wider conflict as the CCP has claimed the nearby Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands as its own. Taiwan is located a short distance from the small island chain.
According to Japanese officials, Chinese military vessels have ventured into Japanese territorial waters, or within 12 nautical miles of Japanese land, about 88 times between Jan. 1 and August of this year.
As the Chinese regime sent dozens of fighter aircraft into Taiwan’s air identification zone over the weekend, Japan was partaking in one of its largest naval exercises near the coast of Okinawa, which houses thousands of U.S. troops. U.S. and United Kingdom aircraft carriers, as well as surface ships from the Netherlands, Canada, and New Zealand took part.
Earlier this week, Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held his first talks with President Joe Biden and confirmed the two will work to strengthen their alliance and cooperate in regional security matters, namely to counteract North Korea and China.
Biden provided “a strong statement about U.S. commitment for the defense of Japan, including … Senkaku,” Kishida told AP, adding that the two leaders also reaffirmed they would tackle together the “challenges facing neighboring regions such as China and North Korea.”
Tokyo and Washington have a mutual defense treaty, meaning the United States is obligated to defend Japanese territory under law.
Kishida has previously said that acquiring the ability to strike enemy bases was a viable option and that he would appoint an aide to monitor the CCP’s treatment of its Uyghur minority, which some have described as a genocide.