The information comes amid growing tensions between the island and China, the latter claims Taiwan as its territory and in the last two years has intensified military and diplomatic pressure to claim sovereignty.
The Japanese agency quoted unnamed government sources as reporting that the U.S. Marine Corps will establish temporary bases on the Nansei island chain, which stretches from Kyushu (one of Japan’s four main islands) to Taiwan, in the initial phase of a possible attack on Taiwan.
Under this plan, the Japanese military would provide logistical support – such as supplying ammunition and fuel – said one of the sources.
The official plan would be presented and defined at a meeting of foreign and defense ministers early next year, the news agency said. The Japanese Defense Ministry did not comment on the matter.
Last October, the Japanese government had already shown a firmer stance on China’s aggression with Taiwan, suggesting it would consider options and prepare for “various scenarios.”
Also, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asserted that Japan and the United States could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan. U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said that given the number of U.S. troops in Japan and its proximity to Taiwan, Japan would play a key role in the event of an emergency.
The island covers an area of 35,000 square kilometers, which represents one third of Cuba. It is located less than 200 kilometers from China, with which it maintains tense relations.
The conflict between the island and China dates back 70 years. In 1945, China regained control of the island from the Japanese. But in China there had been an internal conflict since 1927 between the Nationalist Republicans led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communist Party led by Mao Zegond.
The conflict lasted for years but was finally defined on October 1, 1949, when Mao declared the birth of the People’s Republic of China.
More than a million nationalists, including military, civilians, intellectuals and businessmen settled in the newly recovered island and formed a nationalist government. They declared Taipei as the temporary capital of the country and proclaimed themselves a nation.
After the end of World War II, the island retained its seat in the United Nations, UN, and the recognition of many Western countries.
But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon proposed a rapprochement with China because they had a common enemy in the former Soviet Union.
The diplomatic thaw began with a sports exchange between the U.S. and Chinese tennis teams, the latter of which invited the American team to China and opened the possibilities for a rapprochement that brought Nixon to China in 1972. From then on it was baptized as ping pong diplomacy.
In 1971, the UN recognized the Chinese communist government as the only legitimate representative and years later the United States did the same, although Washington continued to be the largest arms supplier and ally of the island.