Japan’s New (Defensive) Attack Force – Sending a tough signal to China concerning the Senkaku Islands

Japan “warned China that the outcome would not be peaceful if it should try to change the status quo by force.”

Please note that China has declared the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands a “core interest.” A core interest is something that China will wage war over. Now what would happen to the current Chinese leadership should China fail to take the Senkaku Islands in a battle with Japan? It’s not too hard to imagine this type of scenario pushing the country into a revolution. So the Chinese leadership either has to stop incremental increases in aggression, or it has to jump to the next level – nuclear attack on Japan and the US. Otherwise, it seriously risks losing a battle to Japan. As you will see below, Japan is getting ready for battle.

Would China dare to launch a preemptive nuclear attack on Japan and the US? It might but that depends on what happens – the trigger. It also depends on the probability of revolution in China independently of events surrounding the Senkaku Islands. Should events in China proceed down the path toward revolution, as they currently are, then the prospect of nuclear war might be a better option for Chinese leaders. Obviously not for the people but for the leaders.

So while budget cuts and political gridlock may indeed undermine the ability of the U.S. to intervene in regional disputes, Japan is sending a very clear signal to China: it plans to hold onto the Senkaku islands, with or without American help.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a leading proponent of the more active Japan that is emerging. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal this week, Abe asserted the view that “Japan is expected to exert leadership … in the field of security in the Asia-Pacific,” and warned China that the outcome would not be peaceful if it should try to change the status quo by force – even as Japan scrambled fighter aircraft on three consecutive days in response to Chinese activity.

Against this worrying backdrop, the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) have both been enhancing their capabilities with a view to protecting the country’s maritime interests. Abe may not have initiated this process, but he is doing what he can to accelerate it, having handed the Ministry of Defense (MoD) its first budget increase in over a decade at the start of the year.

Most eye-catching of all – especially in light of Japan’s disagreements with China – has been Tokyo’s emphasis on the JSDF’s amphibious capabilities. The news this week that the MoD is prepping a major amphibious landing drill that began on November 1 was a restatement of this ambition, and the exercise will be the latest in a long series of moves designed to equip the JSDF with a credible amphibious deterrent.

Japan’s New (Defensive) Attack Force | The Diplomat