The Japanese Deputy Prime Minister said at a fundraising event: If Taiwan gets into trouble, it could threaten Japan’s survival because Okinawa could be the next target. China and Japan are in a territorial dispute over an uninhabited archipelago near Okinawa. China also claims the Japanese-ruled Senkaku Islands (Tiaoyu in Chinese).
The Japan Self-Defense Forces can only be deployed if armed conflict threatens the survival of the island nation. This condition can also be met if one of Tokyo’s allies is attacked.
In response to a question, Japanese General Secretary Kato Kakunobu said he did not know the details of Aso’s note, but he Japan’s official position remains that differences should be resolved through direct and peaceful dialogue.
China sees Taiwan as a part of it. Beijing previously stated that it would meet the island by force if necessary. Recently, a military exercise was conducted in the Taiwan Strait, which escalated tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Tosimiko said on Tuesday that Japan will provide an additional 1.13 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to the island during the week, at Taiwan’s request. The donation will be delivered to Taiwan on Thursday.
Japan sent 1.24 million doses of vaccine to Taipei in early June.
Motegi added that Tokyo is also considering sending another shipment to Indonesia, where the delta variant is spreading rapidly. Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam also receive 1 million doses of the vaccine from Japan each week.
Tokyo has purchased 120 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of which are manufactured by local companies. Although the vaccine was approved in May, due to its rare side effects, local health authorities relied more on the Pfizer and Modern vaccines for their vaccination campaign.
Cover image source: Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images