Kyodo looked into the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the governments of the United States and Japan in the run-up to the release of the joint statement after the Biden-Suga summit in Washington on April 16. The news service claimed that the President gave up on his demand that the joint document mention the Taiwan Relations Act in exchange for a commitment from Japan to offer to the U.S. logistical support in the event of a contingency in the Taiwan Strait. According to the article, the Japanese side was reluctant to address the Taiwan issue, particularly the Taiwan Relations Act, in the statement out of fear that it would trigger a strong response from China. The GOJ was reportedly eager to include the phrase, “the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues,” in order to cushion the preceding language, “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” which inferred the two allies’ readiness to increase deterrence against China’s potential aggression.
In winning the President’s concession, the prime minister allegedly said the following: “If a crisis were to occur in Taiwan, it could be construed as a ‘situation posing a threat to the survival of Japan’ or a ‘situation having a significant impact on national security,’ as defined in the comprehensive security legislation. Under such a scenario, we would be ready to support the United States.” The article claimed that some USG officials view Suga’s taking care not to upset Beijing as reflecting a pro-China position, noting that they were also “irritated” by LDP Secretary General Nikai’s conciliatory stance toward China. “The U.S. and Japan would be able to cooperate more without Nikai,” a USG source was quoted as saying.