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Tensions Over Taiwan Spread To Western Japanese Islands; U.S. Airline Travel Is Impacted By Fatigued Flight Crews. Aired 4-4:10a ET
Aired April 19, 2022 - 04:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Could a potential conflict over the island of Taiwan spill over onto islands that are part of Japan?
That is the question we`re exploring first on today`s show. I`m Carl Azuz. Thank you for watching.
Taiwan is located about a hundred miles east of mainland China, and the governments of those two places have been at odds for decades. When China`s
communist party won a civil war in the 1940s, the nation`s previous government was forced to flee to Taiwan. Today, the island sees itself as
an independent democracy. China sees it as part of the mainland and therefore subject to China`s communist government.
So, the two sides have an ongoing dispute they are not at war at this point. But after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, some experts have
said China might be considering a similar operation in Taiwan. No one knows for sure if that`s going to happen but there has been a lot of political
and military activity around the island.
A group of U.S. lawmakers recently visited Taiwan for a show of support for it. China called that trip provocative and responded by holding military
drills near the island with ships, bombers and fighter planes.
So, what does this have to do with Japan?
Well, like the U.S., Japan supports Taiwan. It does not want China`s government to take over the island and Japan doesn`t like what it sees when
it comes to Chinese military patrols.
Twenty years ago, the Japanese government says it counted fewer than 20 Chinese warships sailing near Japanese islands. Last year, that number
jumped to more than 70, and the Japanese who live on their country`s westernmost islands are much closer to Taiwan than Tokyo, the Japanese
capital. So, they`re deeply concerned about what could happen if China makes a move against Taiwan.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the past years, Kazushi Kinjo has made a living fishing the water surrounding Japan`s Nansei
Islands. That includes the uninhabited group of islands known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
When he started, Kinjo says he never saw Chinese ships, but in the last few years --
KAZUSHI KINJO, JAPANESE FISHERMAN (through translator): You can see it in the video. The bow of one of their ships was pointed straight at us and
they were chasing us.
ESSIG: Dangerous encounters specifically around the contested Senkaku Islands the Kinjo says are guaranteed.
KINJO: I don`t know for sure. But I also saw what looked like cannons. Looking back, they definitely could have shot at us if they`d wanted to. I
felt that fear.
ESSIG: In response to CNN, China`s ministry of foreign affairs says it`s carrying out law enforcement duties in its territory but it`s not just the
Chinese coast guard trolling these contested waters. Japanese and senior U.S. defense officials say Chinese warships are routinely patrolling
Japanese territorial waters in the waters near Taiwan. And according to one of the men in charge with defending Japan, that increased activity isn`t
limited to the sea.
From where I`m walking on the shores of Japan`s Yonaguni Island, the east coast of Taiwan is only kilometers away. It`s so close that on a clear day,
you can actually see it. It`s this stretch of water it`s been viewed as a potential battleground if China invades Taiwan.
It`s that close proximity that has Japanese officials claiming Taiwan`s peace and stability is directly connected to Japan`s. A security threat
amplified by the ongoing nuclear threat posed by North Korea and a growing fear that China may try to take control of land the Japanese government
claims is inherently theirs.
GEN. YOSHIHIDE YOSHIDA, CHIEF OF STAFF, JAPAN`S GROUND SELF-DEFENSE FORCE (through translator): Japan`s territorial sovereignty extends to the
Nansei Islands and I`m afraid that may be infringed in the future.
ESSIG: It`s for those reasons that General Yoshihide Yoshida says defending the Nansei Islands is a top priority.
The Nansei Islands consist of these 198 islands. Since 2016, in a clear departure from Japan`s post-World War II pacifism, Japan`s self-defense
force has increased its footprint, building bases on Amami Oshima, Miyakojima and Yonaguni. Ishigaki is next.
How confident are you in Japan`s ability to defend itself?
YOSHIDA: We are enhancing our capabilities but our competitors are also enhancing their capabilities at an extremely fast pace. It will be very
difficult to maintain our deterrence and response capabilities unless we further increase our military capacity.
ESSIG: Back on Yonaguni, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is sparking fears that China could be emboldened to act off Japan`s shores.
KINJO: The people are terrified of the situation that`s happening. I think that the Senkaku issue and the Taiwan contingency are similar to the
Ukrainian issue. I have a strong sense of crisis that this island will eventually cease to be Japan.
ESSIG: But in the face of geopolitical concerns well out of his control, Kinjo and his crew do what they know, they prepare for another day at sea.
Blake Essig, CNN, Yonaguni, Japan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Which of these airlines was founded first?
Southwest, Spirit, Frontier or JetBlue?
Dating back to 1967, Southwest is by far the oldest airline on this list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: As demand for airline travel increases this summer, along with ticket prices, one challenge airlines are facing is pilot fatigue. An
airline pilots association says that`s the number one safety threat for Southwest Airlines but that`s not the only company whose employees say
Airline travel hasn`t completely recovered from the COVID pandemic, but it`s getting there. U.S. government data shows that this month, there were
about 90 percent of the travelers there were in 2019. But there`s an ongoing shortage of pilots. Thousands of them retired during the pandemic.
Others have complained of not enough pay, long and expensive training, being put on leave without pay and COVID vaccine requirements.
The federal government has rules about how much airline pilots can fly. Those are set at 30 hours max in the air each week, and at least hours of
rest in between shifts. But pilots say changes because of weather, delays and other issues are taking their toll.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the latest challenge to your next trip -- understaffed airlines and overworked flight
crews causing carriers to cancel flights. After hundreds of cancellations last weekend, JetBlue announced it is cutting eight to ten percent of its
summer schedule, citing a challenging staffing situation. The latest numbers show that airlines are still shy more than thirty thousand workers
compared to before the pandemic.
HENRY HARTEVELDT, ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH GROUP: There`s a lot of burnout and especially among some work groups. I`m hearing from folks saying, I just
can`t take it anymore.
MUNTEAN: Crew shortages are hitting airlines large and small. Alaska Airlines is cancelling two percent of its flights through June. Delta
pilots say they are being pushed to the limit on a regular basis.
EVAN BAACH, AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: Longer days with shorter nights at home, shorter layovers and our pilots are tired and fatigued.
MUNTEAN: Pilot reports of fatigue spiked at Southwest Airlines last month. Their union says the company is struggling to retain its newest hires.
CASEY MURRAY, PRESIDENT, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES PILOTS ASSOCIATION: This is going to be a critical issue every month and every year that we move
MUNTEAN: Help comes in the form of sky-high hiring goals. Delta wants to hire 200 new pilots each month. JetBlue has already hired 3,000 new crew
this year alone.
United Airlines came up with a different solution, opening up its own flight school, a first for any major airline in the United States.
SCOTT KIRBY, UNITED AIRLINES: The pilot shortage is real. We can hire pilots at United Airlines, but the regional airlines and smaller airlines
or have a real pilot shortage and are having real challenges.
AZUZ: For 10 out of 10, Toby Keith is the oldest dog in the world. That`s not a knock on the country singer. Toby Keith is also the name of a
Chihuahua, this Chihuahua, which Guinness World Record says is the oldest canine alive. He was adopted from a shelter a few months after he was born
on January 9th 2001, which means Toby Keith recently celebrated his 21st birthday and he`s said to be in good health though he spends a lot of time
When that dog growls at the door, you better let the old man in. He`s probably thinking how do you like me now? Every dog has its day, I`m
unleashed and I want to talk about me. Don`t pull my chain, I was made in America longer ago than any other and I never thought I should have been a
I`m Carl Azuz.
Today`s shout-out goes out to Mancelona High School. It is great to see you watching from Mancelona, Michigan.
Our YouTube channel at youtube.com/CNN10 is the only place we look for shout-out schools.