Japan has released its annual white paper on defence. For the first time it highlights the tensions that China's threats to Taiwan pose for stability in the entire East Asian region. It also notes that increasing rivalry between China and the US in technology and trade will further aggravate tensions.
The 469-page white paper was approved by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government and reflects Tokyo's increasing concerns about the fast-deteriorating situation in the region.
Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun quotes the white paper as saying: "Stabilizing the Taiwan situation is important for Japan’s national security and stabilization of the international community”. The newspaper notes that China has intensified its military activity around Taiwan, and this could pose threats to Japan also.
In the past few days, Japanese ministers have repeatedly voiced that if China attempts to seize Taiwan by force, Japan and the US may be forced to intervene militarily. Since last year, Japan also has been repeatedly inviting European countries to participate in military exchanges with Japan in the East China Sea and the South China Sea with a view to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The white paper says that China's military operations in the region are a reason for concern for the entire world. It mentions that China's increasing defence expenditure remains opaque but has lent might to its nuclear missile programme along with strengthening its navy and air force.
Besides mentioning the China threat to Taiwan for the first time, Japan has also brought out deteriorating climate conditions as a security issue. The paper says that climate change will increase competition for land while the melting waters in the Arctice Sea will lead to militarisation of that region.