Although the latter scenario makes it clear that the hostilities would primarily involve the PLA and Taiwanese military forces, it nevertheless raises the possibility that China would attack U.S. and Japanese bases on Okinawa, while using long-range ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21D and DF-31, to threaten aircraft carriers in the region and the Western United States should U.S. forces attempt to intervene in the conflict.

Interestingly, Japan would have a responsibility to come to Taiwan’s aid in the event the PLA engages Taiwanese forces, the Japanese-language Sankei Shimbun said in its reporting on the scenarios on Jan. 1.

There has been much speculation over the years about whether Tokyo would intervene if the PLA ever invaded Taiwan. Reports in 2007 alleged that Japanese and U.S. officials, alarmed by growing Chinese might, were considering a plan to coordinate their actions under such a contingency, with Japan providing rear-area support for U.S. forces as stipulated under the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. It is no coincidence that the efforts in 2007 also occurred when Abe, who is regarded as pro-Taiwan, was in power.