Tokyo, April 20 (Jiji Press)–Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday denied that the reference to Taiwan in a recent joint statement with U.S. President Joe Biden takes into account the possibility of Japanese military involvement.
The reference to Taiwan in the statement, issued after Suga’s meeting with Biden on Friday, “does not presuppose military involvement at all,” Suga told a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.
He was responding to a question from an opposition lawmaker over whether Japan would be militarily involved in issues related to the Taiwan Strait in line with the U.S. military strategy to deal with China.
The statement is the first document between Japanese and U.S. top leaders to refer to Taiwan since the 1972 normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations.
It mentions “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The joint statement “makes clearer our country’s existing position expecting a peaceful resolution through direct dialogue between related parties, presenting it as a common stance between Japan and the United States,” Suga said.
China, which regards Taiwan as a core interest, has expressed its strong opposition to the statement, blaming the two countries for interfering in Chinese internal affairs.
Suga apparently tried to seek understanding from Beijing by underscoring Japan’s wish to see a peaceful resolution of Taiwan issues.
He also told the Lower House that Taiwan was mentioned in the statement based mainly on a change in the military balance between China and Taiwan.
It is difficult to say categorically what circumstance may fall within the definition of a situation with an important influence on Japan’s peace and security that would justify Japanese logistic support for the U.S. military, Suga said in connection with a possible Taiwan contingency.
On Friday’s summit, Suga said, “I was able to establish a relationship of personal trust with Biden and demonstrate powerfully the unity of the Japan-U.S. alliance to the international community.”