Japan sets US-backed "Taiwan contingency" initiative
The Japanese government plans a "Taiwan contingency" initiative, with the support of the US in case a war between Taipei and Beijing erupts according to various Japanese media outlets.
With its intent of narrowing the "missile gap" with China, the Japanese government wants to alter its Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles so they can be fired from vessels and aircraft to strike land targets, according to a major Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri, on Sunday, which cited numerous government sources. The missiles would also need to be extended to have a range of at least 1,000KM.
Yomiuri stated that an enhanced ground-launched variant of the missile is anticipated to enter service two years sooner than first anticipated, probably in 2024. According to the publication, Tokyo eventually wants "more than 1,000" of these missiles stationed around the Nansei Islands. The alleged missile strategy is a component of a "Taiwan contingency" initiative.
The US military and Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) reportedly forged an agreement in December to set up an attack base on the Nansei Islands in the case of an "emergency," should war arise between Taipei and Beijing.
To explain such "counterstrike capabilities," Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has previously stated that it intends to modify and partially classify the country's current National Security Strategy by the end of the year, with an emphasis on whether Japan may obtain weapons to strike enemy bases. Given Japan's defense-focused constitution's express renunciation of war, the topic is delicate.
The proposal, if implemented, would see US troops stationed on the Nansei Islands at a temporary attack base, with the SDF providing support in the form of additional troops if a military danger to Taiwan was near, according to Tokyo officials cited by the Kyodo news agency.
There are over 200 islands in the Nansei Islands, some of which are uninhabited. According to reports, three of the islands - Amami-Oshima, Ishigaki, and Miyako - were being evaluated as locations for missile sites, but their proximity to the disputed Senkaku Islands would infuriate China further by Japan's escalated militarization of the area.
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