Japan is on the front line of the new Cold War, warns a researcher


A well-known Japanese commentator has said that the world is in a Cold War situation that puts Japan in the front line.

Kohyu Nishimura, a researcher at the Asian Strategic Intelligence Institute, told The Epoch Times that Japan is in danger, but the Japanese people do not understand it clearly.

“I think the world has entered a 21st century version of the Cold War,” Nishimura said.

“In the past, during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the conflict around the Korean Peninsula was the frontline of the Cold War in East Asia,” Nishimura said.

“Today, 30 years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the structure of the Cold War has completely changed,” he said.

“The tensions of this new cold war have transferred to the Japanese archipelago. Places like Okinawa and Taiwan, that is, the area along the line of the Great Archipelago, have been pushed to the forefront of this new Cold War.

“The current problem is that Japanese nationals who are on the front line do not clearly recognize the situation. Otherwise, the industrial chain should be pulled out or transferred from communist China as soon as possible, and trade with China should be reduced on a large scale.

He said that at present, some Japanese companies have realized the danger and taken action, but more companies still need to wake up.

“Chinese Communist Party (CCP) inspectors (involving secret agents) have spread throughout Japanese society, such as politics, business, administration, media and elsewhere,” Nishimura said.

“It restricts and constrains Japan’s actions against the CCP in many ways,” he said. “The term ‘economic security’ has become popular recently, and Japan is really in danger.”

Shangri La Dialogue

Nishimura’s comments follow a speech by Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi at the Shangri-La Dialogue, also known as the Asian Security Conference, held in Singapore on June 11.

Kishi said there are potential dangers in the Indo-Pacific region similar to Russian military aggression during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kishi said in his speech that he once again recognized that “there is in fact a country on earth that has truly threatened to use nuclear weapons and to use powerful military force to unilaterally change the status quo. “.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue Summit in Singapore on June 11, 2022. (Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

Considering China, which is stepping up its maritime activities, and North Korea, which is advancing nuclear and missile development, Kishi said there are potential dangers in the Indo-Pacific, similar to Russian aggression, adding that “this international concern has become a broad consensus.”

Kishi said Japan is at the forefront of defending the rules-based international order. In order to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities, the Japanese government will guarantee a necessary defense budget.

He also said he saw that Beijing would not give up the possibility of using military force against Taiwan and building up its military might without transparency.

“Countries that ignore the rules take advantage of other countries’ crises through loans and other means, so cooperation is not reciprocal,” he said, alluding to the use by the CCP of the “Belt and Road Initiative”. Behind this generous funding, the host country is burdened with an unbearable debt.

Successive action

Kyodo News reported on June 7 that Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to establish an “integrated commander” position and an “integrated command” to support the unified organization of the country’s military forces.

According to the report, since China has strengthened its maritime activities and responded to new security areas such as space and cyber, the Ministry of Defense believes it is necessary to create new positions focusing on maritime activities. improving the mobility of its defense forces.

Sankei Shimbun reported on June 4 that the Japanese government plans for the first time to send a civilian Defense Ministry official to Taiwan to boost its intelligence-gathering capabilities due to China’s increasingly aggressive military operations. China in the Taiwan Strait.

It is the second major change in Japanese Defense Ministry personnel in Taiwan after the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996, when Japan sent a retired self-defense officer to Taiwan to gather intelligence. Sankei Shimbun believes Japan’s decision to send incumbent Defense Ministry officials to Taiwan is a step forward in Japan’s security policy.

Epoch Times Photo
China’s first home-built aircraft carrier leaves the port of Dalian DSIC (Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co.) Shipyard for sea trials in Dalian, China’s Liaoning province, on May 13, 2018. (Getty Images)

In May this year, Chinese military activity was frequently detected around Japan, with the Chinese aircraft carrier “Liaoning” remaining in waters south of Okinawa for about three weeks. Carrier-based fighters and helicopters took off and landed more than 300 sorties, while bombers flew over the area twice.

Kōji Yamazaki, the head of the military attache of the Japanese Ministry of Defense and chief of staff, underlined the sense of vigilance during a press conference held at the end of May, saying that “it is an activity Liaoning has never done before, and it has a great impact on overall security.

Japan’s checks and balances

Japanese commentator Nishimura believes the country’s parliament and defense ministry should cooperate more closely, which he says is essential. In addition, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces should have more exchanges and cooperation with the Taiwanese military.

“In fact, the ‘2+2 talks’ (ie the Japan-US Security Assurance Agreement Committee) will take some steps on the Taiwan issue. Biden said he would use military force, and I think it will work that way,” Nishimura said.

“From this point of view, if Japan does not improve its own checks and balances, it will be in real danger. Of course, this does not mean that something can be done immediately. Of course, constitutional reform is necessary, but once the constitution is involved, it will affect many CCP “inspectors,” so the constitution cannot be reformed smoothly.

He also said Japanese politicians should re-examine the “three non-nuclear principles”.

“As long as you question the ‘three non-nuclear principles’ and demand reform, it will cause concern and controversy around the world, which will also strengthen Japan’s balance and deterrence, and form at least some deterrence for North Korea and the CCP.

The Three Non-Nuclear Principles refer to a doctrine that successive Japanese governments after World War II adhered to – not to possess, manufacture or import nuclear weapons. Although former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested there was a need to consider a “nuclear sharing” policy, current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made it clear that he will always adhere to the doctrine.

Taiwan Invasion Investigation

90% of Japanese think Japan should prepare for the Chinese invasion of Taiwan, according to a survey conducted by Japanese media outlet Nikkei Asia in May.

Fifty percent of respondents said Japan should act as much as possible within existing laws; 41% support changing the country’s constitution to allow military intervention. Overall, 91% of Japanese think Japan should prepare for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

As part of Nikkei Asia’s supplemental report, he said that in the event of an emergency in Taiwan, Japan would take action in accordance with the provisions of the Peace and Security Law (known as the Security Law). The law gives the Japan Self-Defense Forces the ability to conduct overseas operations under limited circumstances.

Epoch Times Photo
A Chinese army H-6 bomber flies near a Taiwanese F-16 on Feb. 10, 2020. (Taiwan Ministry of National Defense/Handout via Reuters)

Former leader Abe also made a series of pro-Taiwan remarks, including those delivered at a forum hosted by the Institute of National Policy Studies, a nongovernmental think tank in Taiwan in late 2021.

“If Taiwan has a problem, then Japan has a problem, and the Japan-US alliance has a problem as well,” he said.

Su Ziyun, director of military strategy and industry at Taiwan’s National Defense Security Research Institute, told The Epoch Times that if China invades Taiwan, in accordance with the U.S.-Japan security treaty and to Japan’s “Self-Defense Force Law”, Japan should support the US logistics efforts and may provide supplies to Taiwan.

“But Taiwan won’t rely on other countries to help,” Su Ziyun said. “We are strong enough to take responsibility for our own defence, that is the top priority. Of course, we are optimistic and welcome the support of other countries. But we have to be careful.”

Epoch Times reporter Ellen Wan contributed to this report.

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Jessica Mao is a staff writer for The Epoch Times and focuses on China-related topics. She started writing for the Chinese language edition in 2009.

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