Japan’s shifting security policy, highlighted in a series of key documents revised late last week, has put the spotlight on what will be its top priority in the coming years: reinforcing its far-flung southwestern islands, which would be uniquely exposed in the event of a conflict with China.

More troops, new units, enhanced military capabilities and better medical provisions are just some of the elements laid out by Tokyo in the three documents, with Japan beefing up defenses on and around the Nansei Islands amid concerns that a crisis akin to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could occur in the area.

Experts say the government’s new security outlook, which includes an almost doubling of the country’s defense budget by 2027, reflects just how seriously Tokyo is taking contingency planning, not only in terms of strengthening Japan’s regional deterrence capabilities and defense posture but also in preparing for a potential Taiwan emergency.

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