Kyuma: U.S. presence deters China from attacking Taiwan.
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A former Japan Self-Defense Force leader has cautioned against any deep cuts in the number of Marines stationed on Okinawa.
That some 13,000 Marines are assigned permanently to Okinawa, with 2,000 to 3,000 more there occasionally for temporary training, keeps China from invading Taiwan, Fumio Kyuma, former SDF chief, said during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. Kyuma now chairs Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party general affairs council.
He was in Washington at the same time Japanese defense and foreign ministry officials were to meet with their U.S. counterparts on a plan to realign U.S. troops in Japan. Part of an interim report released Oct. 29 calls for 7,000 Marines to transfer from Okinawa to Guam and elsewhere in Japan during the next six years.
If China occupied Taiwan, “there would be no Taiwan between China and Japan,” Kyuma said. “China would move right over to Okinawa.”
Residents of Ishigaki and Miyako, Japanese islands between Okinawa and Taiwan, “would grow extremely nervous, resulting in Okinawa having no alternative but to ask for the military to stay,” he said, according to Japanese news reports.
Kyuma praised increased joint...