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Why Taiwan looms large for Japan

Amid worsening US-China ties and rising tensions over Taiwan, the Japanese are realising they could not sit out a war over the island.

Planners have also reportedly considered ways of bolstering ties with Taiwan. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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Normally careful about annoying China, Tokyo is moving closer to a policy stance that could scarcely be more abhorrent to Beijing: a commitment to help defend Taiwan against a possible Chinese military takeover attempt.

Recent Chinese actions that the Japanese perceive as aggressive have hardened public opinion and emboldened its defence hawks. These include hostile signals aimed at Taiwan, the border skirmish on the Sino-Indian border and, closer to home, increased Chinese encroachment near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

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