Japan is upping the ante in its longstanding simmering tensions with China, given Tokyo leaders have over the past year much more overtly sided with Taiwan amid the crisis which has seen a series of US delegations visit Taipei, most especially Nancy Pelosi's August 2nd visit.
"Japan will expand fuel and ammunition storage facilities on the Nansei Islands in the East China Sea, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told Nikkei on Tuesday, as Tokyo seeks to better prepare for a Taiwan Strait crisis," Nikkei reports.
This is significant given that most of Japan's ammunition is stored on faraway Hokkaido, in the complete opposite direction in the north. Thus this latest announcement marks a major strategic refocusing on placing ammo depots and military accessible ports much closer to Taiwan.
"To protect Japan, it's important for us to have not only hardware such as aircraft and ships, but also enough ammunition for them," Defense Minister Hamada said. "We will radically strengthen the defense capabilities we need, including our capacity for sustained and flexible deployment."
And yet, given that "neutral" Japan since WWII has essentially barely even had a military to speak of until recent times, the ammunition that it does have would likely last a very short time by the standards of modern warfare.
Nansei island chain line of defense, where Japan plans to concentrate more military storage...
"Japan's Self-Defense Forces have stockpiled enough ammunition for two months at most. Less than 10% is stored in southwestern Japan's Kyushu and Okinawa, and the SDF lacks the shipping capacity to send enough to the area during a conflict," the Nikkei report continues.
The defense ministry announcement this week also previewed an expansion of military logistics infrastructure, to include new port facilities and fuel depots in Okinawa, Kyushu and other islands.
Once a war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, it must be the result of the US’ support in Taiwan’s wrong interaction with the mainland, and the US & Taiwan’s provocation. Washington will not escape the blame. The mainland sincerely hopes to resolve the Taiwan question peacefully. pic.twitter.com/A7o7u03Pc6— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) September 8, 2022
Interestingly, Nikkei's analysis concludes with the following admission regarding the role of US forces in any future potential conflict with China: "Tokyo's postwar defense strategy has generally assumed that Japanese forces would need to hold out for a few weeks until the U.S. military arrived to handle the threat. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine, now stretching into its seventh month, is spurring a rethink."