Stationing of Japanese defense attaché would boost exchanges: analysts

Having an active-duty Japanese defense attaché stationed in Taiwan would boost the efficiency of military cooperation and exchanges between the two countries, analysts said Saturday.

Kuo Yu-jen (???), executive director of the Institute for National Policy Research, said if the reported move goes ahead, it would represent a step forward in strengthening military relations between Taiwan and Japan.

Kuo made the comments after a Japanese media report on Saturday said Japan's representative office in Taiwan will likely be staffed with an active-duty defense attaché for the first time beginning this summer.

According to the Sankei Shimbun, the government of Japan has been considering appointing an incumbent official with Japan's Ministry of Defense stationed at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA), Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan.

The significant increase in China's military exercises and "incursions" around Taiwan over the past few years has prompted calls for Japan to appoint an active-duty defense attache to Taipei to enhance intelligence capability and facilitate communication with Taiwan, the report said.

To date, Japan has sent a retired military officer to serve as an unofficial military liaison officer, Kuo said.

As a result, relevant information has to be relayed through various diplomatic channels before it reaches Japan's defense ministry, he explained.

Su Tzu-yun (???), an analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said Saturday that if Japan sends an active-duty defense officer to Taiwan, it would greatly enhance communication between the two countries.

With the rise in China's naval capabilities, the waters around Taiwan are of particular concern for Japan's energy security, as much of its natural resources are shipped through waterways near the Taiwan Strait, Su said.

Naturally, it is for this reason that Japan attaches great importance to the security of the Taiwan Strait, he explained.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Chang Yen-ting (???) said the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) currently has active-duty military personnel stationed in the country, as does South Korea at its representative office in Taiwan, although they wear civilian attire.

If Japan was to station an active-duty military officer in Taiwan, it would mean the country is in sync with the United States, Chang added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel