Japan is strongly invested in shaping a rules-based Indo-Pacific. But increasingly, its focus is closer to its backyard. With China’s visible encroachments in the East and South China Seas, Tokyo is understandably concerned about the peace and stability around Taiwan.

So an emergency over Taiwan is an emergency for Japan, as the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used to say.

Japan’s long history with Taiwan goes well beyond a shared sense of security and its new National Security Strategy points out that Taiwan isn’t just an extremely important partner, but “a close friend to Japan.” Generally, this close friendship is avoided publicity, but Tokyo is projecting a message that those days are gone.