This year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and China, even though it seems like Beijing would not mind letting the relationship plummet to a new low.
After the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, it has been widely acknowledged that a “Taiwan emergency” is not just possible, but highly probable. It is also known that Taiwan is not well-prepared.
However, is Japan ready? Some Taiwanese hope that the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would come to Taiwan’s aid if the nation is attacked. Such an expectation is closer to fantasy than reality. Without any precedent or law, it would be a problem for the SDF even to evacuate Japanese from Taiwan, not to mention help Taiwan defend itself.
Some Japanese politicians have even said they hope that if an emergency occurs, Taiwan would provide airplanes to help evacuate Japanese expats. That way, Japanese politicians would not have to deal with organizing such an operation and could evade subsequent responsibilities.
Besides the legal issues that constrain the actions of the SDF, the reality is that Taiwan’s armed forces lack a channel of communication with their Japanese counterparts. Under a Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association plan, only one SDF civilian officer is to be sent to Taiwan.
However, if Taiwan and Japan are to discuss ways of communicating and collaborating in an emergency, the contact person for Japan must be a military officer.
It has been said that Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada intends to send a military officer to Taiwan. What Taiwan can do now is arrange a liaison as soon as possible to facilitate communication with Japan. The training of such personnel must start immediately.
Japan’s bureaucracy is conservative. All must comply with laws. Should there be a lack of legal basis, everything must be done in accordance with precedent. Without a precedent, nothing is done. In this sense, it is imperative to establish rules when it comes to Taiwan-Japan relations.
The “Know-Taiwan Faction” in Japan, following the example of the US Congress’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), has been advocating for creating a Japanese version of the US law, despite a great number of difficulties.
Kazuo Asano, who proposed such legislation, said that Taiwan does not have much time left after the 20th National Congress. Asano recommended that Taiwan and Japan keep communication as close as possible before the enactment of a “Japanese TRA.”
At the same time, an agreement that specifies pragmatic ways of addressing urgent situations should be signed by the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association and the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.
Given the pressing circumstances, neither Taiwan nor Japan can afford to wait any longer. At a legislative level, it is important to continue endorsing a Japan-Taiwan relations act. At a practical level, Taipei and Tokyo must establish close ties built on mutual trust, to conduct scenario planning for a Taiwan emergency.
For Taiwan, the only way to avoid war is to let the enemy know that the price would be high should it attack. It is therefore crucial to enable a framework of trilateral cooperation and security that involves Taiwan, Japan and the US.
In this way, the enemy would realize the real price for waging a war against Taiwan.
Shogo Lim is a member of the World United Formosans for Independence, Japan and a member of the Taiwan Statebuilding Party.
Translated by Liu Yi-hung
When I was in Ukraine filming for an upcoming documentary, I was surprised at how frequently my mind naturally tended to map Ukraine’s war experience onto Taiwan, where I have lived for the past 10 years. There are obvious parallels of an imperial nuclear superpower asserting itself over a smaller non-nuclear state, but there are also small mundane things that would impact everyday life. When I saw Ukrainian elderly people filling jugs of water at a church in sub-zero temperatures and hauling it back to their homes which might not have electricity, I imagined the difficulty of a Taiwanese senior
This is the Year of the Dragon. At the beginning of the year, the Chinese government announced that “dragon” is to be translated as long (龍), in a move meant to erase the supposed negative connotations of dragons. In many Western cultures, dragons are often seen as wicked or demonic. This is not just a mere linguistic adjustment. It is symbolic, representing a change in China’s current political culture. Under the overbearing leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the Chinese government has been undergoing a cultural policy of “de-Westernization.” Although this change in semantics is just one of many
An online petition started by a doctor in Taichung called on lawmakers to halt an amendment that would shorten the time needed for Chinese spouses of Taiwanese to gain citizenship in Taiwan. The amendment could put a strain on Taiwan’s already burdened National Health Insurance (NHI) system, Cheng Ching Hospital thoracic surgery division doctor Tu Cheng-che (杜承哲) said. Doctors have seen many Chinese spouses bring their relatives to hospital emergency rooms, asking for full checkups, he added. “They [Chinese spouses] even tell their relatives that healthcare in Taiwan is free and is easily accessible, and that healthcare providers in Taiwan
For millennia, stratagem and deception have been baked into Chinese strategic culture and statecraft. So it is imperative to consider the risks of Chinese deception regarding theater or tactical nuclear weapons of under 5,000 kilometer range. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Chinese military experts who contributed to the eventual Sunzi Bingfa (孫子兵法), or The Art of War, attributed to Master Sun, had concluded that “All warfare is based on deception.” Often referenced in the West as if reduced to cliche, Sunzi Bingfa is of paramount importance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This fact goes far to