05/31/2022, 14.33
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Chinese threat of attack on Taipei weakens Japanese pacifism

​More than 90% of Japanese think the government should prepare for an armed crisis along the Taiwan Strait. 41% want changes to their country's 'pacifist' constitution; 61% favour strengthening military deterrence against China. Chinese military overflights near Taiwan continue: 30 aircraft identified today.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - More than 90% of Japanese people think their government should prepare for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan: 41% support changes to the country's "pacifist" constitution to allow the national armed forces to intervene in the event of a conflict between Chinese and Taiwanese; 50% believe the authorities should respond to a possible regional crisis within the current constitutional framework.

This was revealed in a survey conducted over the weekend by Nikkei Asia, according to which only 4% of the respondents believe that Japan does not need to take any measures with respect to a possible aggression by Beijing against Taipei. Sixty per cent of the citizens contacted also argue that their country should have the ability to counterattack during an armed confrontation.

Moreover, 61% are in favour of strengthening military deterrence capabilities against China. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden emphasised this need in their recent meeting.

As a legacy of the defeat suffered in World War II, the Japanese Constitution imposes severe restrictions on the employment of the national 'Self-Defence Forces'. However, a war along the Taiwan Strait could fall within the 'limited circumstances' that allow armed intervention by Japanese troops. This would especially happen if the US pledged to come to Taipei's aid, triggering the collective security clause in the defence treaty between Tokyo and Washington.

China considers Taiwan a 'rebel' province and does not rule out recapturing it by force, a move the US says the Chinese could make by 2027. Today Taipei identified 30 Chinese military aircraft flying in the southwestern section of its air defence identification zone (not to be confused with national airspace).

In terms of the number of aircraft, this is the second largest Chinese sortie this year: on 23 January, no fewer than 39 of Beijing's warplanes had flown near the island. Together with the naval ones, China has intensified these air operations since late 2020: a way to put Taiwan's defences under continuous pressure and to confuse the local authorities and population about the real intentions of the Chinese leadership.

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