Chief Cabinet Secretary Asks Kyushu Prefectures to Prepare Evacuee Plan in Event of Taiwan Contingency

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tarama Island in Okinawa Prefecture

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno asked prefectural governments in Kyushu on Tuesday to formulate a plan by around next fiscal year for accepting evacuees from the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa Prefecture with a possible contingency in Taiwan in mind.

Matsuno met on Tuesday with Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima, who serves as chairman of a Kyushu regional governors association, at the prefectural government office, telling him, “It is necessary [for each prefecture in Kyushu] to consider accepting evacuees.”

The government considers it necessary to evacuate residents and tourists from the Sakishima Islands, which are close to Taiwan, to Kyushu should the situation around Japan deteriorate due to an emergency in Taiwan.

The Sakishima Islands include the cities of Miyakojima and Ishigaki, the towns of Taketomi and Yonaguni, and the village of Tarama. The number of evacuees could reach as high as 120,000, and formulating a plan to accept them has become an urgent task.

“It is important to prepare to provide facilities [to accept evacuees], food and medical care,” Matsuno was quoted as telling Kabashima during the meeting. In response, Kabashima said, “We’d like to closely cooperate with the central government and the prefectural governments in Kyushu.”