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Japan's defense minister reiterates importance of Taiwan Strait in CNN interview

Japan strengthening capacity to launch missiles at targets outside its own territory amid aggressive Chinese military activities

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Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo (left), President Tsai Ing-wen during Kishi's visit to Taiwan in January 2020. (Presidential Office photo)&n...

Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo (left), President Tsai Ing-wen during Kishi's visit to Taiwan in January 2020. (Presidential Office photo)&n...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan’s Minister of Defense Kishi Nobuo has reiterated the importance of the Taiwan Strait to his country in an exclusive interview with CNN and said that Japan will continue to respond to China’s mounting operations in the East China Sea.

Kishi said the Diaoyutai Islands — called the Senkaku Islands in Japan — are undeniably part of Japan’s territory and will be defended against the Chinese threat, according to a Liberty Times report.

In response to Chinese moves in the vicinity of the islands, Japan will deploy naval squadrons accordingly, he said. “We must prove the Japanese government is resolute in defending its territory and that Japan has more coast guard ships [in the area] than China,” he added.

When asked about Tokyo’s stance on the Taiwan Strait, Kishi referred to his country’s latest defense white paper, released in July, which states, "The stability of Taiwan's situation is vital to Japan's security and the stability of the international community."

Noting that around 90% of the imported energy used by Japan is imported from areas surrounding Taiwan, Kishi said that "what happens to Taiwan directly impacts Japan." Kishi said Japan must respond if a serious incident occurs in the Taiwan Strait but suggested dialogue be used to resolve such a crisis rather than violence.

Japan recently deployed missiles and troops on Yonaguni Island — just over 100 kilometers east of Taiwan. In the near future, further deployments will be carried out on Ishigaki Island — just over 300 km east of Taiwan.

"This is to show our strong will to defend the southwestern islands," Kishi said. He added that Japan is upgrading its equipment so it can launch missiles at targets outside its territory, giving it the capability to meet any potential threat.


Updated : 2022-05-26 08:58 GMT+08:00