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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 15:44, July 19, 2004
Will Japan's SDF involve in cross-Straits crisis, HK newspaper
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An article lately carried on the Hong Kong Economic Journal gave an analysis on whether Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would get involved into the cross-Straits crisis. The article held that given Chen Shui-bian's ever increasing splitting activities, it is most likely for Japan, under the framework of US-Japan security alliance, to involve into the Taiwan conflicts.

In the past dozen or so years, the article said, Tokyo had been pursuing a double-faced eclectic policy on the Taiwan issue. Calling loudly for "no independence of Taiwan, no force from the mainland", Japan has been trying to maneuver in the narrow space between the two big countries of China and the United States, as well as that between Taiwan and the Mainland, in an attempt to seek for maximum national interests in the region. However, as Chen Shui-bian authority increasingly pushed on independence in the past four years without openly declaring it, it is much more likely for Japan to involve into the cross-Straits crisis.

Tail behind the United States to advance or retreat
Judging from Tokyo's acts in recent years, the article said, Japan's official attitude towards the Taiwan issue should be--whether the SDF would involve in the Taiwan situation depends on the US attitude and the nature of the military conflict. That is, if the war is triggered off by Taiwan's unilateral declaration of independence, believing the US intervention would be quite limited and to avoid irritating Beijing, Japan will tend to hold back its troops and remain an outsider. However, viewing Tokyo's series actions in recent years on security affairs, Japan might not satisfy itself with providing logistics to US forces in a possible war across the Straits. Once the situation takes a sharp turn, Japan might directly interfere when feeling threatened or attacked.

Active troop deployment
The judgment that Japan may directly involve in the cross-Straits war is also based on two pieces of news, the article said. Taiwan-based TVBS lately quoted the Kyodo News Agency as saying that Japan's defense ministry had mapped out a plan to send 7,200 SDF members to Okinawa to cope with possible conflicts across the Straits. The second news deserving attention is that the United States is taking the opportunity of re-deployment of its troops in East Asia to strengthen military ties with Japan. These new measures can further bring SDF into the US military system in the western Pacific and at the same time indirectly increase the possibility of Japan's being attacked by the PLA.

Fish for profits from cross-Straits conflicts
In view of the change in Japan's security policy, Tokyo is sure to gain profits no matter in whichever way the conflict breaks out in future. The possible crisis or war between the mainland and Taiwan is bound to accelerate Japan's process towards a "normal country" in defense affairs and push forward strategic transformation of the country's defense policy within the framework of Japan-US military alliance.

By People's Daily Online

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