《TAIPEI TIMES》 Japan likely to aid Taiwan if China attacks: official
Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky and Japanese State Minister of Defense Toshiro Ino attend a handover ceremony of Japanese Self-Defense Force’s vehicles to Ukraine at the defense ministry in Tokyo on May 24. Photo: Reuters
By Jonathan Chin / Staff writer
Japan would likely come to Taiwan’s aid if China attacks, Japanese State Minister of Defense Toshiro Ino told the Telegraph in an interview published on Sunday.
“If people all over the world have the will to support Taiwan, similar to the way they supported Ukraine when we witnessed Russia’s aggression, then, yes, it would be very possible that we will provide some kind of support to Taiwan,” Ino was quoted as saying
“I am not sure at this juncture whether it is going to be defense equipment support or whether it is going to be logistics support,” he said, adding that it would need the consensus of the Japanese public.
However, Japanese officials are alarmed by the parallels that can be drawn between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s provocative behavior over Taiwan and in the region’s waters, he said.
Japan has boosted its defense budget by 60 percent over the next five years in response to Beijing’s rapid military build-up under Chinese President Xi Jinping （習近平）, Ino said.
“We consider it a threat that China is increasing its military budget and it is sharply increasing its assertiveness in the maritime zones. So far, we have not seen this level of threat before,” he said.
Tokyo has learned from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s disastrous war in Ukraine that it must strengthen its defense capabilities to effectively deter China’s ambitions over Taiwan while focusing on “constructive dialogue” to pre-empt Beijing from escalating, he said.
“We think it is important to demonstrate that it will be difficult to invade Taiwan or make an aggressive move against Taiwan through military means,” Ino said.
If the US is to mount an armed response to a Chinese attempt to take over Taiwan by force, it would almost certainly do so from the various military bases in nearby Japan, he said.
This means Tokyo would have to decide whether to approve Washington’s use of the bases in an active conflict, which might prompt Beijing to attack Japanese territory, Ino said.
Japan would also face the choice of directly joining the fight, in which case Tokyo would seek “maximum support” from allies, including the US and the UK, he said.
“The security environment of the world is becoming the most complicated in its history,” Ino said, referring to the rising belligerence of regional neighbors Russia, China and North Korea.