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The Japan-U.S. defense guidelines do not apply to conflicts in Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait if China does not exercise its military might over the area, Taku Yamasaki, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told Chinese Ambassador to Japan Xu Dunxin on Wednesday.

Yamasaki implied — but did not directly state — that it may be possible under the guidelines for Japan to provide support to U.S. military forces if China uses its military to threaten Taiwan’s independence and if such situations have an “important impact on Japan’s peace and security.”

Xu paid a farewell visit to Yamasaki and expressed concern over a Foreign Ministry official’s remark last week that “(emergency) situations in areas surrounding Japan,” in which Japan can provide support to the U.S. military, include conflicts along the Taiwan Strait. Tokyo had been saying that the term “situations in areas surrounding Japan” pertains to incidents of war, and is not a geographic concept.

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