Japanese Diet member sees weapons sales to Taiwan in 5 years
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-03 06:06 PM
Taku Ohtsuka, a Liberal Democrat in Japan's House of Representatives, has claimed that developments in relations between Japan, the US and Taiwan are steadily improving, and as a result it may be possible within the next five years for Japan to legally sell defensive weapons to Taiwan. Ohtsuka said as he understands it, the new policies being introduced in Japan regarding the "Three Principles on Transfers of Defense Equipment" does not exclude Taiwan. This means that Taiwan could be a potential market for defensive weapons produced by Japan.

Ohtsuka noted that political considerations make it very difficult for Japan to export weapons. In the case of Australia, he said, there are a wide range of inspections and restrictions involving exports of weapons. At the same time, he said if Japan and the US can reach a consensus on the matter it might be possible for Japan to supply defensive armaments to Taiwan.

Ohtsuka said a Japanese version of the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) is in the works, but it will take some time. In addition, relations with Vietnam have been somewhat strained lately, and although Japan has established a cooperation mechanism with the Philippines and Vietnam, Taiwan has yet to have a real presence in the disputes that have arisen in the East China Sea and the South China Sea dispute.

Taiwan's low profile in regional affairs has led Japan to consider developing a Japanese version of the TRA to clarify the relations between the two areas, said Ohtsuka. Taiwan's geographic location is very important for both the US and Japan, and it is essential that Taiwan should actively participate in affairs that take place in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Ohtsuka said that during the past two or three years the US seems to have been influenced by the growing economic and military strength of China in the region and its attitude toward Taiwan has been somewhat murky and confusing. Recently, however, there seems to have been a significant change in relations across the Taiwan Strait, and the US has begun to see Taiwan as an important part of the puzzle in maintaining peace and security in the region.

Regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Korea, Ohtsuka said that China is obviously eager to move closer to South Korea and even coax it to be on China’s side in regional disputes. He added that he believes South Korean President Park Geun-hye understands the importance of the US-Korean alliance and knows that it is essential to the continued well-being and independence of South Korea.

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