Japan, U.S. draft operation plan for Taiwan contingency

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military have drawn up a draft joint operation plan that would enable the setup of an attack base along the Nansei island chain in the country’s southwest in the event of a Taiwan contingency, according to Japanese government sources.

Japan and the United States will likely agree to begin work to formalize an operation plan when their foreign and defense chiefs meet in early January under the “two-plus-two” framework, the sources told Kyodo News by Thursday.

The development will likely draw a backlash from China, which regards the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Under the draft plan, U.S. Marines will set up a temporary attack base at the initial stage of a contingency on the Nansei Islands, a chain stretching southwest from the Japanese prefectures of Kagoshima and Okinawa toward

Taiwan. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military installations in Japan.

The U.S. military will get support from the SDF to send troops to the islands if a Taiwan contingency appears imminent, the sources said.

Such a deployment, however, would make the islands the target of attack by China’s military, putting the lives of residents there at risk. Legal changes would be needed in Japan to realize the plan, the sources said.

Read more at Kyodo News.