Japan plans to open more shelters in Okinawa amid Taiwan tensions

The Japanese government plans to build additional shelters on the Okinawa islands to protect residents from missile threats amid heightened tensions in Taiwan, government officials said Friday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the Cabinet Secretariat had asked for a budget of 70 million yen ($477,000) in fiscal 2023 to consider specifications for shelters that could accommodate residents in the event of a military emergency.

“We will conduct an extensive analysis looking at various aspects such as specifications, technology and cost issues,” Matsuno told reporters. Nikkei Asia. [accessible here]

He said the government aims to build shelters on the Sakishima islands, including Yonaguni and Ishigaki islands near Taiwan, to augment the six existing shelters in Okinawa prefecture.

The government will also consider building an above-ground shelter within the prefecture given the lack of underground facilities on the island, Matsuno added.

After the war between Russia and Ukraine, Japan has designated more than 400 metro stations as temporary emergency shelters as of June this year. Emergency shelters allow people to evacuate in the event of a missile attack from he one hour to he two hours only.

As of April 2021, about 94,125 places such as schools and community centers have been designated nationwide, but only 1,278 of them are underground facilities, Asahi Shimbun report.

Tensions in Taiwan

The expansion comes after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan in August, when China launched military exercises near Taiwan, launched multiple ballistic missiles over Taiwan, It took place after imposing a naval blockade.

Shigeru Ishiba, a member of parliament and former Japanese defense minister, met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on July 28 to discuss “laws and agreements” and the military that would be deployed to deal with the resulting problems. rice field.

“We need to work together to reach an agreement on this before anything happens,” Ishiba said at the president’s office in Taipei.

Japan devoted a significant amount of space to Taiwan in this year’s annual defense report, saying Taiwan’s stability was “extremely important to Japan’s security” and needed to be “closely monitored with urgency.” .

In a report released on July 22, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said, “China has made it clear that it will not hesitate to unify Taiwan by force, further increasing tensions in the region.”

North Korea, which conducted a series of missile tests this year, also poses a nuclear threat to Japan. North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan on her October 4th, prompting Japan to issue warnings to residents in some areas to evacuate.

Aldogra Fredry


Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.