Tokyo [Japan], September 13 (ANI): A serving Japanese defence ministry official has been dispatched to Taiwan and stationed within an organization that serves as a liaison with Japan, sources say, NHK World reported.
NHK World-Japan is the international service of Japan's public media organization NHK.
The move shows Japan's efforts to gather intelligence in response to mounting concerns about a potential crisis in Taiwan.
Though Japan has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the the Taipei office of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association acts as Japan's de facto Embassy. Various Japanese officials, including those from the foreign ministry and the economy and industry ministry are posted there.
Sources close to the matter say a civilian bureaucrat from the defense ministry has been stationed in the Taipei office since this spring.
The Japanese defence ministry had until then not dispatched any serving officials to the organization.
A retired Japanese Self-Defense Forces officer has been assigned there since 2003, bringing the total number of Japanese officials in charge of security to two.
Japan has, however, refrained from dispatching a serving SDF officer to Taiwan, unlike some other nations that have no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but station uniformed officers there, as per NHK World.
Observers suggest that Japan has avoided doing so to prevent provoking China, which claims Taiwan as its own.
Meanwhile, Taiwan recently termed China as the "bully next door" and said that Beijing should hold its own election instead of shaping Taipei.
"The PRC has made it clear it wants to shape Taiwan's coming national election. Well, it's up to our citizens to decide, not the bully next door. Look, China should hold its own elections; I'm sure its people would be thrilled," Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said on microblogging site X.
This came hours after the People's Republic of China reportedly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan on Saturday said it has detected warplane incursions into its air defence zone since China announced the launch of military drills, the country's Defence Ministry said. (ANI)