In a significant development, in a discussion with Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin when the subject of joint U.S.-Japanese cooperation came up for defending Taiwan in case China was foolish enough to attack the country, which it claims to be w wayward province, Tokyo said it is exploring ways its military can help U.S. forces defend Taiwan in such an eventuality.

During the meeting, both sides agreed to cooperate closely in the event of a Chinese military aggression on Taiwan. Details of the military coordination have not been disclosed for public consumption.

During the meeting, Kishi mentioned the dramatic increase in Chinese military planes taking threatening postures in the Taiwan Strait. It is strategically important for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to coordinate with their American counterpart to inflict punitive damage on an invasion force.

Midst China’s growing belligerence with its neighbors including military aggression towards Taiwan, Japan’s proximity to any such potential conflict, gives it the right to assess the viability of releasing “an SDF dispatch order to protect U.S. warships and military planes” in the event of any potential conflict.

Following the meeting, both countries issued a lengthy statement with each saying they will not tolerate China’s “destabilizing behavior.”

According to Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo’s Meiji University, “The wording of this statement is surprising in its strength, particularly from Japan’s perspective as Tokyo generally prefers to take a more delicate or diplomatic approach.”