Tokyo has requested regions in southern Japan to accommodate people evacuated from Okinawa Prefecture in case of a war in the Taiwan Strait, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday.
If a conflict breaks out across the Strait, people on the Sakishima Islands, which lie between Taiwan proper and Okinawa’s main island, would have to be evacuated from the prefecture, the news agency reported.
An estimated 120,000 people would need to be moved, including 110,000 citizens and 10,000 tourists, it said.
Niitani Koushi, who is in charge of crisis management at the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat, visited Yamaguchi Prefecture at the southern end of Japan’s main island of Honshu, it said.
Koushi asked the prefectural government to cooperate with prefectures in Kyushu, which is between Honshu and Okinawa, to help with the evacuation, it said.
Since last month, Tokyo officials have visited prefectures in Kyushu to call for their cooperation, including Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, who traveled to Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures, it said.
The Fukuoka Prefectural Government, in the most northern part of Kyushu, said that it had not received any such request and is not proceeding with preparations at this time, Kyodo reported.
Prefectural governments in Kyushu are to arrange available accommodation facilities, shelters and relief supplies as part of the preparations, it said.
To prevent evacuees from being stranded in airports or ports after they arrive in Kyushu and Yamaguchi, prefectures joining the evacuation effort need to create detailed plans on transportation and accommodation for evacuees, as well as food, clothing and medical supplies.
Tokyo plans to complete, by the end of this year, a survey on the number of people who would need to be evacuated in an emergency and aims to draw up an initial evacuation plan within the next year, local media reported.
Japan has also taken other measures to prepare for a Taiwan contingency, including holding an evacuation drill in Okinawa in March, the first such drill in the prefecture closest to Taiwan.
The Nikkei last month reported that Japan has chosen 33 airports and ports as candidates for improvement to enhance military capabilities, with a particular focus on infrastructure that could be utilized in a Taiwan emergency.
Additional reporting by CNA
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