Japan troops won’t get involved if China invades Taiwan, PM Yoshihide Suga says.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has emphasized that, despite a reference to Taiwan in a joint statement released after his recent meeting with US President Joe Biden, there is no possibility of Japanese forces being committed to any military contingency surrounding Taiwan.
In response to a question from an opposition politician in the Diet on Tuesday about the details of Japan’s commitment to Taiwan, Suga replied that the statement “does not presuppose military involvement at all”.
Analysts say Japan’s constitution would block the military from taking part in combat in the event China attempted to take Taiwan by force, although Japan could provide a range of logistical and rear-echelon support to the United States.
The wording of the statement – the first document signed by the Japanese and US leaders to refer to Taiwan since diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing were normalized in 1972 – had been closely scrutinized.
Biden and Suga called for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, the first reference to Taiwan – which Beijing claims as its territory – in a joint statement in more than 50 years. They also said they would counter China’s “intimidation” in the Asia-Pacific region.
China accused Japan and the US of sowing division, and said the two countries were inciting “group confrontation”. On the weekend, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, which oversees the Taiwan Strait, deployed dozens of H-6K strategic bombers in a nine-hour live-fire drill, according to state television.
Analysts said Suga’s latest comments to the Diet was Tokyo’s way of drawing a line under suggestions that the government could use a different interpretation of the constitution to give it freer reign to dispatch the military.
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