The policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sunday voiced opposition to any attempts by China to force a shift in the status quo, referring to the country's rising military pressure on Taiwan.
Koichi Hagiuda, chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, said at a forum in Taipei that maintaining peace and stability over the Taiwan Strait was vital for building a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Hagiuda also expressed resolve to strengthen Japan's defense capabilities, saying, "Japan will possess and bolster strike capabilities in an effort to strengthen deterrence."
Japan aims to raise its defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product from its current 1 percent "as soon as possible," he said.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has set a goal for meeting the 2 percent target -- on par with North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states -- in fiscal 2027.
Hagiuda said Kishida could consider using funds earmarked for government bond redemption to finance the planned expansion in Japan's defense spending.
Kishida has estimated that about a quarter of the planned increase in defense outlays will have to be paid by tax hikes and the rest by promoting spending reform and using surplus money or other means.
Hagiuda criticized China for having fired ballistic missiles into Japan's exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea in August, saying Beijing "should refrain from taking action that could heighten military tensions."
On Saturday, Haiguda and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen agreed that Tokyo and Taipei will step up cooperation in ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Haiguda is currently on a three-day trip to Taiwan through Monday, making him the first among the three executives of the LDP -- secretary general, policy chief or head of the General Council -- to visit the self-ruled democratic island since 2003.
Japan has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but maintains a close economic relationship. The two sides share concerns about Beijing, notably its increased military activities near Taipei and the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland, by force if necessary.