Category Archives: Japan

Rift Grows Over South China Sea as Japan Joins U.S.-Australia Military Exercise

Japan will join a major U.S.-Australian military exercise for the first time in a sign of growing security links between the three countries as tensions fester over China’s island building in the South China Sea.

All three nations have said they were concerned about freedom of movement through the seas and air in the disputed South China Sea, where China is creating seven artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, a vital shipping corridor.

Some security experts say China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes construction work that includes at least one military airstrip. China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defence Identification Zone but that current conditions did not warrant one.

China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

The Japanese personnel will embed with U.S. forces while 500 New Zealand troops will join Australian contingents, according to the Australian Defence Force website.

Rift Grows Over South China Sea as Japan Joins U.S.-Australia Military Exercise

China, Be Afraid: The Mighty U.S.-Japan Alliance Is Going Global | The National Interest Blog

Going global also reflects Japan’s larger aims to see itself as a significant international player. Abe has travelled extensively to spread the message not only that Japan’s economy was back in business but also that it has a global role. But this vision is driven not only by Abe’s ambitions for Japan. It also reflects the reality that its rivalry and competition with China—whose rise is the primary driver of the revised Guidelines—is playing out internationally.

The driving force behind the revision of the Guidelines is China’s revival and the growing rivalry and tension this is causing with Japan. Yet the document is extremely deft in its treatment of China. …

China, Be Afraid: The Mighty U.S.-Japan Alliance Is Going Global | The National Interest Blog

Japan Rising | Washington Free Beacon

Japanese Vice Defense Minister Kenji Harada characterized the security situation in East Asia as increasingly “severe” and warned that tensions with China over control of Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have reached menacing proportions.

“It is extremely dangerous,” Harada said in an interview of China’s attempts to enforce an air defense zone covering the islands located west of Okinawa.

Dubbing the Japan military buildup “integrated mobile defense,” Harada said, “we have to respond to the situation seamlessly and very readily.”

Chinese ships and aircraft have stepped up intrusions into airspace and waters around the islands since the air defense zone was set up in 2013 covering the islands. Japanese F-15 warplanes have made frequent intercepts of Chinese aircraft.

Japan Rising | Washington Free Beacon

This is just a friendly reminder, in case you forgot, that China and Japan are still at a tipping point and could realistically tip into war with each other. If they start shooting at each other then things could escalate fairly rapidly. If the US enters any military conflict then we could be looking at a nuclear war.

Overall, there is a risk of nuclear war between the US and China and Russia. Additionally, Iran is menacing Israel in a fairly serious manner. Iranian allies are positioning themselves to literally put the existence of Israel at risk in the next war. With three spheres of influence at a tipping point, how long can things continue as they are without blowing up?

Michael Auslin: China and Japan, Spiraling Toward Confrontation – WSJ

It’s too simplistic to say that Beijing and Tokyo are on a collision course. Yet Japan shows no signs of buckling to Chinese pressure. Its military consistently responds to China’s expanding presence in northeast Asia’s skies and waters. That, in turn, raises the stakes for Beijing, which cannot afford to be seen backing down from its claims. Both sides have effectively made the Senkakus (called the Diaoyu Islands by China) a symbol of their determination to assert their national interest.

The two may be maneuvering themselves into a real confrontation, regardless of tepid diplomatic attempts to reduce tension. Neither wants to risk being seen as weak by the other or overshadowed in the eyes of regional states. So they are locked in a slowly spiraling competition reminiscent of the European powers in the late 19th century. As Chinese academic Shen Dingli has put it, “the more the U.S. and Japan do, the more China will do.”

That attitude reveals the stakes for America, too. Washington policy makers may like to think that their attempts to develop better working relations with Beijing should be taken at face value. But the Chinese see the Obama administration’s attempts to deepen its alliance with Japan as proof of an encirclement policy dedicated to blocking China’s rise, which prevents U.S. diplomats from playing the role of honest broker between China and Japan.

Michael Auslin: China and Japan, Spiraling Toward Confrontation – WSJ

This is a real problem because China can’t back down, and losing any kind of real conflict battle is not an option (for China). Therefore, there is the substantial risk of rapid escalation should a conflict involve real aggression – the loss of life. So the clock is ticking.

Let us also remember that China itself has become internally unstable. There is real risk that the current government might not last. What would come next is not clear, but the current leadership has to be worried.

I think if you look at China in total then the way forward is not going to be smooth. It risks revolution or overthrow, or it goes to war against Japan and shortly thereafter America. Obviously, these are not good options. Since America is sleeping soundly, you need to make sure you aren’t.

Japan ups the stakes to draw Asean closer — Albert Wai | What You Think | Malay Mail Online

Over eight days, we took part in briefings and discussions on various strategic issues, including Japanese foreign policy, China-Japan relations and ASEAN-Japan relations. What struck me in these meetings is how keen Japan is to draw Asean closer to Tokyo in its tussle with China for influence in Asia. Notably, Japanese officials painted the contest almost as a zero-sum game.

Its game plan to engage Asean is a mix of economic diplomacy — which it is adept in — and signalling for the first time that it is prepared to patrol the South China Sea to counter Beijing’s assertiveness there.

Officials were clear that by getting involved in the South China Sea, Tokyo was not looking for conflict. Instead, it hopes to help Asean stand up to Beijing’s military might so that the South China Sea dispute can be settled through the rule of law and not power.

Japan believes this will create a healthy precedent for the East China Sea, where the two countries are locked in a bitter territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands (or Diaoyu Islands in Chinese terminology).

Japan ups the stakes to draw Asean closer — Albert Wai | What You Think | Malay Mail Online

This is Japan’s Best Strategy to Defeat China at Sea | The Diplomat

According to Toshi Yoshihara, it is an anti-access operational concept with Japanese characteristics. In short, Japan should give China a dose of its own medicine and emulate the PLAN’s alleged anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy (although there is little actual evidence that the Chinese Navy is placing a high priority on such a strategy. See: “The One Article to Read on Chinese Naval Strategy in 2015”). An A2/AD operational concept with Japanese characteristics would take into account Japan’s role as a gatekeeper to the open waters of the Pacific and would center around exploiting Japan’s maritime geographical advantage over China by skillfully deploying the JMSDF along the Ryukyu Islands chain, bottling up the PLAN in the East China Sea until the U.S. Navy and other allied navies can deploy in full-strength.

The short-term operational goal would be to create a military stalemate, until superior allied forces could be brought to bear. “While the Ryukyus fall well inside the PLA’s antiaccess zone, the archipelago’s strategic location offers Japan a chance to turn the tables on China. By deploying anti-access and area-denial units along the islands, Japanese defenders could slam shut an important outlet for Chinese surface, submarine and air forces into the Pacific high seas,” Toshi Yoshihara notes.

This is Japan’s Best Strategy to Defeat China at Sea | The Diplomat

China Prepares for War | American Thinker

The nations around the South China Sea are preparing for war and so are the U.S. Marines. The Marines are building a command post at Oyster Bay on the west side of the Island of Palawan, which is the closest part of the Philippines to the Chinese bases in the South China Sea. The Marines would see their role as scraping the Chinese off their artificial islands once hostilities break out. It is good to see that somebody besides China is planning ahead.

Back to the Senkakus. The Japanese have not put any troops on these islands because they didn’t want to escalate the situation. That is completely misreading it. The Chinese preparations on the Nanji Islands etc. mean that the war is coming. All Japan can do is put itself in a better position. What it needs to do soon is send a team of archeologists to the Senkakus to curate the Japanese habitation of these islands, with logistical support provided by a company of naval marines. The important thing is that they will run up the Japanese flag every day. If they Chinese have to step over dead Japanese bodies when they attack, that will put Japan in a far better moral position.

Articles: China Prepares for War

Time for Japan to Get Its Own Nuclear Weapons? | The National Interest

America’s policy of opposing the proliferation of nuclear weapons needs to be more nuanced. What works for the United States in the Middle East may not in Asia. We do not want Iran or Saudi Arabia to get the bomb, but why not Australia, Japan, and South Korea? We are opposed to nuclear weapons because they are the great military equalizer, because some countries may let them slip into the hands of terrorists, and because we have significant advantage in precision conventional weapons. But our opposition to nuclear weapons in Asia means we are committed to a costly and risky conventional arms race with China over our ability to protect allies and partners lying nearer to China than to us and spread over a vast maritime theater.

None of our allies in Asia possess nuclear weapons. Instead, they are protected by what is called extended deterrence, our vaguely stated promise to use nuclear weapons in their defense if they are threatened by regional nuclear powers, China, North Korea and Russia. We promise, in essence, to trade Los Angeles for Tokyo, Washington for Canberra, and Seattle for Seoul, as preposterous as that might seem.

Time for Japan to Get Its Own Nuclear Weapons? | The National Interest

This was China´s decision to make, and it made it. China decided that Japan should have nuclear weapons. China´s aggressive behavior coupled with its military build-up means that Japan should have nuclear weapons.

Japan’s Military Is Revving Up To Meet China’s Growing Regional Ambitions [and War]

‘If ever there was a formula for world wars, it’s minor disputes between countries backed by big allies.’ If China and Japan go to war, then so do China and the US.

“All those hotspots, and what’s the common denominator? It’s China,” Gordon Arthur, a journalist focusing on Asian Pacific defense, told Business Insider. “I think they’ve been very assertive under president Xi Jinping, so I think it’s very possible that an accident or escalation could happen.”

That case is the main driver for Japan’s renewed defense priorities, and for its move to base its new amphibious capability — including a radar station — in southwestern Japan.

If ever there was a formula for world wars, it’s minor disputes between countries backed by big allies (“it’s likely that there will be a third world war to fight for sea rights,” reads one op-ed by a professor at a a Chinese military university). Even Shinzo Abe, a man in leadership rather than academia, this year compared the trade-heavy relationship between China and Japan to that of the UK and Germany before World War I.

Japan’s Military Is Revving Up To Meet China’s Growing Regional Ambitions – Business Insider

China, U.S. moving closer to viewing war as inevitable | The Japan Times

Thucydides described this “natural” process regarding Athens and Sparta as a combination of “rise” and fear — which inevitably leads to war. Today this is known as the “Thucydides trap.” The international relations question of our age is: Can China and the U.S. avoid it?

This may sound like Chicken Little warning that “the sky is falling.” But the situation really is quite bad and growing worse by the day. It is now clear that China expects to play a role at “the center of the world’s political system.” It wants to be a new rule maker and an old rule breaker if it is in its national interest to do so. It wants to be an “exceptional” country like the U.S.

China, U.S. moving closer to viewing war as inevitable | The Japan Times

China think tank accuses Japan of preparing for war | GlobalPost

Recent increases in the frequency of Japanese military exercises suggest that the country is preparing for war, a think tank with close ties to China’s military said in a report released Wednesday.

“Island landing” and other readiness drills conducted by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces “are not only provocative and confrontational, but also meant for war preparedness,” the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association said in its third annual report on Tokyo’s military capabilities.

China think tank accuses Japan of preparing for war | GlobalPost

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan | RealClearDefense

China prefers “short, sharp wars.”

Whether one looks at China’s war with India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969) or with Vietnam (1979), it is clear that its strategic aims revolve around the desire to achieve rapid, limited results leaving them in an advantageous position, in addition to teaching the other side “lessons” about China’s will and power. Captain Fanell’s assessment of recent operations by the PLAN confirm that—lo and behold!—China is training to conduct war in a manner that China prefers. One wonders what third parties thought of the talk of “shock and awe” that preceded our campaign in Iraq in 2003. That the identified opponent of China’s future aggression was Japan should not be surprising, given the rising acrimony over disputed territory that is driven in no small measure by the very transparent intent Fanell identifies with Chinese leadership.

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan | RealClearDefense

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan

Fanell used open press sources.

Nothing he said was classified; rather, virtually every fact he relayed about not only what the PLAN was doing in East Asia but how it was described in the media, came from proudly boasted quotes in open-source Chinese media. While few of us take the time to scour Chinese newspapers, there are a number of dedicated souls who do little else, and the work they do consistently reveals a nation dedicated to patiently, but relentlessly, advancing its claims and influence in the region.

China prefers “short, sharp wars.”

Whether one looks at China’s war with India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969) or with Vietnam (1979), it is clear that its strategic aims revolve around the desire to achieve rapid, limited results leaving them in an advantageous position, in addition to teaching the other side “lessons” about China’s will and power. Captain Fanell’s assessment of recent operations by the PLAN confirm that—lo and behold!—China is training to conduct war in a manner that China prefers. One wonders what third parties thought of the talk of “shock and awe” that preceded our campaign in Iraq in 2003. That the identified opponent of China’s future aggression was Japan should not be surprising, given the rising acrimony over disputed territory that is driven in no small measure by the very transparent intent Fanell identifies with Chinese leadership.

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan | RealClearDefense