Civil defense in Taiwan traces its modern roots to the Japanese colonial period and has recently seen a resurgence due to the increasing threat from China following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Organized civil defense in Taiwan began during the Japanese colonial period. After taking over in 1945, the Chinese Nationalist government inaugurated the Taiwan Province Air Defense Command. This organization was primarily responsible for organizing air defense and evacuation. In 1949, it was renamed to the Taiwan Province Civil Defense Command. In 1973 the responsibility for civil defense shifted from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of the Interior with the National Police Agency taking over the civil defense infrastructure.[1]

In 2022, Taiwanese civil defense units had 420,000 registered volunteers.[1]

In 2023 training shifted to more of a wartime focus with 70% of exercises dedicated to wartime scenarios and 30% of exercises dedicated to natural disaster scenarios. It had previously been a 50–50 split.[2]

Government organizations

The Civil Defense Act legislates the creation of civil defense units at four levels: city and county, district and township, state-run companies, and large companies, factories and schools.[1]

The Taiwan Agricultural Research institute maintains a "doomsday bunker" hardened against military attack which houses samples of all crops grown in Taiwan.[3]

Private organizations

Kuma Academy

Puma Shen at a lecture held by Kuma Academy

Kuma Academy provides civil defense training to civilians in Taiwan.[4] Classes cover topics like first aid and media literacy (intended to combat disinformation from China).[5] Kuma Academy has also provided training in open-source intelligence and cybersecurity.[6] According to Kuma, their goal is "to decentralise civil defence."[7]

Forward Alliance

The Forward Alliance is a Taiwanese national security and civil defense think tank. The group runs workshops to train civilians in disaster response and civil defense.[8][9] Following the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, public participation in training programs run by the Forward Alliance increased greatly.[10]


Jincheng Civil Defense Tunnel

There are more than 117,000 air raid shelters in Taiwan, some dating back to the Japanese colonial period. During the Second World War an extensive network of bunkers and shelters was built across Taiwan to defend against allied bombing raids.[11] Many more obsolete shelters as well as military bunkers have been repurposed as commercial, artistic, or public buildings.[12]


The Taiwanese government publishes a civil defense handbook. An updated version was published in 2023.[13][14]

In 2023 Canadian expat John Groot published Resilience Roadmap: An Emergency Preparedness Guide for Expats in Taiwan which focuses on civil defense from the perspective of a non-Taiwanese living in Taiwan.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Civil defense reform needed, experts say". Taipei Times. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  2. ^ Yu, Matt; Yang, Evelyn. "Taiwan to stage the year's first civil defense drill in Taichung". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 12 April 2023.
  3. ^ Chien-chih, Chen; Chin, Jonathan. "Doomsday vault housing 75,000 cultivars". Taipei Times. Retrieved 17 June 2023.
  4. ^ Wang, Joyu (2022-03-04). "In Taiwan, Russia's War in Ukraine Stirs New Interest in Self-Defense". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  5. ^ Philbrick, Ian Prasad (2022-06-19). "A Looming Threat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  6. ^ Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. "Taiwanese citizens prepare for possible cyber war". Axios. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  7. ^ Davidson, Helen. "Taiwan's citizen warriors prepare to confront looming threat from China". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  8. ^ Davidson, Helen. "Second line of defence: Taiwan's civilians train to resist invasion". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  9. ^ Kwan, Rhoda; Jett, Jennifer. "China is not about to invade Taiwan, experts say, but both are watching Ukraine". NBC News. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  10. ^ Tso, Natalie. "Taiwan's Civilian Soldiers, Watching Ukraine, Worry They Aren't Prepared to Defend Their Island". Time. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  11. ^ Everington, Keoni (4 November 2020). "Taiwan to create site listing 117,000 air raid shelters in case of Chinese attack". Taiwan News. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Taiwanese repurpose old bunkers into sheds, parks and photo-op sites". The Japan Times. 10 January 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-01-10. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  13. ^ Teo, Angie; Blanchard, Ben. "Taiwan civil defence handbook includes tips on identifying Chinese soldiers". Reuters. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  14. ^ Everington, Keoni. "Taiwan's new civil defense handbook adds tips on spotting Chinese soldiers". Taiwan News. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  15. ^ Lin, Sean. "Canadian author launches civil defense e-book for expats in Taiwan". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 6 December 2023.