Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Hiroshi Yuasa

【#977】Japanese National Lawmakers Neglecting Triple Crisis

Hiroshi Yuasa / 2022.10.26 (Wed)

October 24, 2022

A Taiwan contingency amounts to a Japan contingency, as noted by the late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Today’s Ukraine could be tomorrow's East Asia, as pointed out by incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Japan is now at the forefront of a triple crisis of Russia’s war of aggression, China’s intimidation of Taiwan and North Korea’s successive missile launches. Japan is now facing an emergency situation in which it must make all-out efforts to deter war. But Japanese national lawmakers are only slinging mud at each other over domestic scandals, lacking a determination to protect their nation and people.

China could invade Taiwan earlier than expected

The Japanese Archipelago is surrounded by an extremely severe geopolitical environment. The Ukraine government should have collapsed long ago due to the Russian invasion if without the solidarity of and support from Western countries. If Russia wins Ukraine war, it will pave the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invasion of Taiwan. The battlefield change in favor of Ukraine owes primarily to sophisticated weapons provided by the United States and Europe. An end of the Putin regime in Russia, or even a potential coup, is rumored. No one can predict what kind of unexpected events may occur in the process. Japan should enhance its northern defense accordingly.

Meanwhile, if the Xi regime loses its fellow autocracy Russia with which China has “unlimited” partnership, it will have to engage in a new cold war with the U.S. in Asia by itself, with U.S. military freed from the European front. For the Xi regime, Russia remains a key partner for changing the U.S.-dominated global order. In his political report to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party last week, Xi said he would “not exclude the use of force as a last resort” regarding Taiwan. Xi had not mentioned the use of force in his report at the last party congress in 2017.

Adm. Phil Davidson, former Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, had indicated that China could invade Taiwan by 2027. Recently, however, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China was determined to “speed up” its reunification with Taiwan, hinting an earlier invasion. Subsequently, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday expressed his concern, saying “When we talk about the 2027 window, in my mind, that has to be a 2022 window or potentially a 2023 window; I can’t rule it out.”

Scandalous parliamentary discussions

However, the members of Japan’s National Diet or parliament apparently do not share a sense of crisis with the ordinary citizens, as indicated by the discussions at the budget committees of both chambers of the Diet over four days last week. Of the 28 hours spent on the discussions, the Unification Church scandal consumed the longest amount of time: 7 hours and 20 minutes, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, 6 hours and 30 minutes were consumed on economics such as measures against rising prices, and only 2 hours and 20 minutes on foreign and national security policies.

In the budget committee discussions, Koichi Hagiuda, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, called on the government to make a determination to have “counterstrike capabilities” to deter foreign missile launches against Japan. However, most opposition lawmakers failed to discuss measures to respond to the current national security crisis. Japanese lawmakers are missing the bigger picture. They are like soldiers who dispute with each other over whether fraud was used for their gambling game in an entrenchment surrounded by enemy forces.

Hiroshi Yuasa is a Planning Committee member and a senior fellow at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals. He is also a columnist for the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.