In late 2021, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a series of speeches at think tanks in Taipei on the importance Japan places on Taiwan's security, prosperity and stability.
He stated explicitly that a Taiwan contingency, meaning, reunification by force by China, would be a direct threat to Japan’s security. Rather than being hyperbolic or inflammatory, his views represented a statement of fact. Sea lines of communication in and around Taiwan are critical arteries that transport goods and energy resources to Japan. As a result, any action by China to force reunification would be an existential threat to those critical sea lines.
Above and beyond sea lines of communication are technology and other supply chains that connect Taiwan to mainland China, but also Japan and other countries who depend on the China-centered global production network. We may be able to live without our Nike shoes or Victoria Secret undergarments produced in China, as Isaac Stone Fish described in his book “America Second: How America's Elites Are Making China Stronger,” for a while, but not without the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s latest generation of chips.