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Japan is considering arms depots near Taiwan in response to tensions with China


The conflict between China and Taiwan also worries other countries in the region. Japan is preparing for an emergency – and is arming itself.

Enlarge image

Japanese soldiers at a military exercise

Photo: Akio Kon / AFP

China has had its sights on Taiwan for a long time and basically regards the neighbor as part of its own territory.

The country makes little secret of wanting to conquer the small island state off the Chinese coast by force of arms if necessary.

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According to a media report, Japan is considering setting up dozens of ammunition and weapons depots on its islands off the Chinese coast in preparation for a possible military conflict.

Japanese armed forces, which are supposed to defend these islands in the event of war, would have better access to supplies, the Japanese business newspaper "Nikkei Asia" reported on Saturday, citing corresponding considerations in the Ministry of Defense.

Japan currently has about 1,400 ammunition dumps nationwide, 70 percent of which are located on the northernmost main island of Hokkaido - more than 2,000 kilometers from the Japanese islands in the East China Sea, it said.

The Defense Ministry estimates that Japan's land forces will need about 90 additional ammunition depots within the next decade.

The Navy also needs about 40 more such camps.

One proposal envisages the construction of nearly 70 ammunition dumps over the next five years, the newspaper reported.

The new depots would be set up on islands stretching from the southern tip of the southwestern main island of Kyushu towards Taiwan.

The government in Tokyo will start talks with the local authorities and residents of the islands in this regard, it said.

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Japan is currently undergoing a historic change of course in its security policy and intends to massively increase its defense spending.

The defense budget is to amount to two percent of the country's economic output instead of the previous one percent.

The change of course comes amid what the Tokyo government describes as the "serious and most complicated" security environment since World War II.

According to a recently adopted security paper, China's military presence in the region represents "the greatest strategic challenge" in history.

Japan's protecting power, the USA, formulates it in a similar way.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of the People's Republic, while Taiwan considers itself independent.

Most recently, the Chinese military in particular had repeatedly provoked in the region.

Among other things, fighter jets repeatedly injured the air defense zone of Taiwan.

Tensions reached a new high last August when Beijing held large-scale military drills around the democratically ruled island in protest at a visit by US leader Nancy Pelosi to Taipei.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-08

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