Japan, US Cannot Stand by If China Attacks Taiwan, Former Japanese Prime Minister Says

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
December 1, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021

Japan and the United States cannot stand by if China invades Taiwan, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Dec. 1, noting that Beijing needs to recognize that “a Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency.”

Abe, who stepped down as prime minister in 2020, said an armed invasion of Taiwan would pose a serious threat to Japan, given that the Senkaku Islands—which China calls the Diayou Islands—Sakishima Islands, and Yonaguni Island are only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Taiwan.

“A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan–U.S. alliance. People in Beijing, [Chinese regime leader] Xi Jinping in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this,” he said at a Dec. 1 forum.

Abe acknowledged the importance of Japan’s relationship with China, but said the country must be firm in telling China what needs to be said.

“Japan, Taiwan, and all the people who believe in democracy need to keep urging [regime leader] Xi Jinping and other Chinese Communist Party leaders repeatedly not to step onto a wrong path,” he said, stating that Japan and Taiwan must work together to protect freedom and democracy.

Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, although Beijing considers the democratically ruled island to be part of its territory, and has threatened to bring the island under its control by force if necessary. China has ramped up military flights near Taiwan, sending more than 200 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in October.

Japan is host to major U.S. military bases, including on the southern island of Okinawa, a short flight from Taiwan, which would be crucial for U.S. support during a Chinese attack. The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, though there is ambiguity about whether it would send forces to help Taiwan in a war with China.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office in October, had earlier renewed his pledge to consider “all options,” including acquiring enemy base strike capability, and vowed to bolster Japan’s self-defense forces to cope with security threats posed by China and North Korea.

Kishida said he’s open to doubling Japan’s military spending and capability, and his Cabinet approved a 770 billion yen ($6.8 billion) request on Nov. 26 for an extra defense budget.

When asked about the extent of the U.S. commitment to Taiwan if China attacks, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Nov. 10 that the United States and its allies would “take action” if China used force against Taiwan. Blinken didn’t specify what sort of action.

“There are many countries, both in the region and beyond, that would see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they too would take action in the event that happens,” Blinken said.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.