June 26, 2010 by Water Wisdom
Source： United Daily News
Despite Taiwan’s opposition, the Japanese government is moving forward with plans to extend its air defense identification zone over the island of Yonaguni to the west.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense said June 24 that it would shift the air defense identification line running through Yonaguni westward the following day by extending it 12 nautical miles from baseline and adding 2 nautical miles as a buffer zone.
Yonaguni, the westernmost island of Japan and the last of the Ryukyu Islands chain, lies less than 110 kilometers east of Taiwan proper’s east coast.
Reports out of Japan have said that in view of mainland China’s growing military prowess, the Japanese defense ministry is currently studying plans to deploy Ground Self-Defense Forces to the nation’s southwestern islands. Expanding the ADIZ over Yonaguni is one of the measures aimed at strengthening the nation’s defenses in the area.
The ADIZ in question, established by the U.S. military following World War II, runs along 123 degrees east longitude and divides Yonaguni’s air space in two. The western half of the island’s air space falls under Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, while the eastern half is controlled by Japan.
The government and residents of Okinawa Prefecture, under whose jurisdiction Yonaguni falls, have continually been calling for a redrawing of the ADIZ. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama promised during a visit to Okinawa in recent months that his government would positively consider the request.
The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued near the end of May that it could not accept Japan’s plans to redraw the line as the matter involved Taiwan’s air space and the integrity of its national sovereignty.
In another press release June 24, the ministry expressed “extreme regret” at Japan’s failure to consult with Taiwan before moving forward with the plan unilaterally. It also reiterated its unswerving opposition to the plan.
The ministry further noted that Japan’s decision to redraw the line would result in an overlapping of the two countries’ ADIZ, stressing that the ROC government would continue to conduct operations as before to ensure the security of Taiwan’s air space.
ROC Air Force planes have always avoided approaching the line during training exercises.
Although ROC military aircraft will continue this practice, high-level MOFA officials stressed that Taiwan cannot accept Japan’s move. “Because it involves national sovereignty, we cannot keep silent on the issue,” they said.
They also expressed the hope that Japan would continue to respect the longstanding tacit agreement between the two sides. (SB)