Japan has warned against using the ‘Taiwan map’ to rationalize defense spending increases, dealing another blow to ties

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday.  Photo: CGV

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on August 5, 2022. Photo: VCG

At a time of tensions in the Taiwan Strait following US President Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to the island of Taiwan, Japan not only failed to maintain regional stability, but instead issued misleading statements on the issue of Taiwan. In this regard, observers have warned that there is a growing dangerous perception within the Japanese government that “an emergency in Taiwan is an emergency for Japan.”

As the Japanese government and society grow more conservative, observers have condemned right-wing politicians for playing the “Taiwan card” and sensationalising security issues. They attempt to rationalize the country’s goal of increasing the defense budget and changing its pacifist constitution.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Sanae Takaichi, who quoted late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s infamous remark “an emergency in Taiwan is an emergency in Japan,” tweeted on Friday that China’s military exercises around the island of Taiwan have made many people aware of the urgency. She said that if tensions escalate, Japan will undoubtedly enter the “battlefield”.

Takaichi is widely considered the successor to Abe’s politics and she often visited the Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines the infamous Japanese Class A war criminals who symbolized Japan’s wartime atrocities and militarism during World War II.

Takaichi is using her tough rhetoric to win more political capital and gaining more support from conservatives in hopes that her situation wouldn’t be bad if she were to step down after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s upcoming cabinet reshuffle, Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

If an emergency does occur in Japan, the Japanese government may not be able to protect the safety of its own people, Yasukatsu Matsushima, an Okinawan scholar and political activist, told the Global Times on Saturday. “If ‘what happens in Taiwan’ affects Okinawa, I don’t think the Japanese government will protect people here at all,” he said, noting growing anger in Okinawa over the “risky” nature of the incident. Pelosi’s provocation.

Okinawan political activist Yuzo Takayama told the Global Times on Saturday that 70 percent of US military bases in Japan are located in Okinawa, and if US military bases become targets due to his provocative actions, residents of ‘Okinawa will inevitably suffer severe damage.

After Pelosi’s visit to the island of Taiwan on Tuesday despite strong opposition from China, Japan took a tough line on China – the country issued a joint statement with other G7 members on Wednesday who unfairly blames China on the Taiwan issue, and Kishida met with Pelosi on Friday and criticized Chinese military exercises around the island of Taiwan.

Also according to media reports, Kishida on Friday condemned the Chinese drills around the island of Taiwan and said it was a “serious issue that affects our national security and the safety of our citizens.”

Another senior Japanese politician, Taro Kono, head of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) public affairs department and former foreign minister of Japan, claimed the same day that the so-called “Chinese missile landings in the EEZ Japan” was a serious issue affecting Japan. national security.

On Thursday, Japan said five missiles launched by China during live-fire exercises “landed in Japan’s EEZ”. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China and Japan have not carried out maritime delimitation in the relevant waters, so there is no Chinese military actions in or entering Japan’s “EEZ”.

The intent of the series of moves and remarks by Japan and its senior politicians is obvious, Da said.

The Japanese government is using the Taiwan issue to smear and demonize China and stoke the so-called Chinese threat theory to lay the groundwork for public opinion to increase defense spending, amend the pacifist constitution and to gradually make Japan a “normal country”. Da underlined.

There is no doubt that China-Japan relations are facing a new blow amid tensions in the strait, Da said.

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