China’s growing military presence in Taiwan strait and East China sea has caused significant concerns in Tokyo in recent times. As a result, Taiwan’s defence and security has become one of the central themes of Japanese security policies as outlined by its recent defence white paper. ‘China threat' is the most crucial reason for Japan's interest in Taiwan's defence as emphasized by previous research related to Taiwan-Japan relations. However, existing research fails to define different aspects of ‘China threat’ envisaged by Tokyo. Considering geographical proximity between Japan and Taiwan, Chinese control over Taiwan is likely to complicate Sino-Japanese relations. However, it is difficult to analyse these complex relations without understanding motivations that necessitates Japanese response to Chinese aggression in Taiwan. Economic factors like strong bilateral trade relations and Taiwan's strategic location at Japan’s energy supply route motivates Tokyo to protect Taipei. This paper attempts to explore and analyse these geo-economic motivations behind Japan’s growing engagement in Taiwan and helps in better understanding of Japan-Taiwan relations.
Keywords: Japan, Taiwan, East Asia, China threat, energy security
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