Young Taiwanese invited to China in 2011 to celebrate the Communist Party's 90th anniversary. (Photo/CNS)
Under revised defense guidelines released by the new Japanese government headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the country should prepare for possible war with China in the East China Sea in 2021, reports Toyko's Sankei Shimbun newspaper.
The Japanese defense ministry has explored a scenario in which the People's Liberation Army will attempt to annex Taiwan in 2021 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Although hostilities would be aimed chiefly at bringing Taiwan under Beijing's control, China would also attack US and Japanese military bases on Okinawa to forestall Washington from coming to Taiwan's aid, according to the scenario.
With their close proximity to Taiwan, islands such as the Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu in China or Senkaku in Japan), as well as the Ishigaki and Miyako islands are those most likely to be PLA targets. Long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching the west coast of the United States will also threaten Washington if aircraft carriers are mobilized to support Taiwan.
The new thinking outlines three scenarios wherein Japan's self-defense forces could face the PLA. First is a war between China and Japan for the disputed islands in the East China Sea, currently under Japanese administration as the Senkaku. Second, war could widen to involve Ishigaki and Miyako, which lie west of northern Taiwan. Third, Japan would have a responsibility to come to Taiwan's aid in the event the PLA engages Taiwanese forces. These scenarios mean the entire East China Sea could be engulfed in war.
North Korea and Russia are also considered potential threats to Japan's national security, according to the guidelines. In addition to the threat posed by North Korean ballistic missiles, the defense ministry believes the rogue state could conceivably attempt to drop special forces units near Japanese nuclear power plants in an attempt to take one offline or cause damage leading to a nuclear disaster.
To monitor the movement of Chinese vessels over disputed waters, Tokyo is planning to purchase between three and five RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones from the US. Fifth-generation fighters will also be introduced to replace the F-15J in 2030.