Category Archives: Japan

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

Japan’s Abenomics May Be Losing Steam in its Second Year | Economy Watch

As the second year of Abenomics progresses, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s program of coordinated monetary and fiscal stimulus and structural reform has lost some of its lustre. Not only have Abe’s approval ratings fallen below 50 per cent for the first time since he took office in December 2012, but a recent poll in the right-wing Sankei Shimbun found that, for the first time, disapproval of Abe’s economic policies had exceeded its approval ratings, with 47 per cent opposed and 39 per cent in favour. Coming amid reports of slowing inflation following the consumption tax rate increase in April and weak export data, slumping public support for Abe and Abenomics suggests that the Japanese government’s policy experiment could be losing steam.

Japan’s Abenomics May Be Losing Steam in its Second Year | Economy Watch

Japan jets scrambling to counter rising Russian incursions – Yahoo News

The number of times Japanese fighter jets scrambled to ward off Russian military aircraft more than doubled in the last six months, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to ease.

The increased activity in Japan’s north also comes as the armed forces pivot their focus southwards towards China, the assertive Asian giant which is seen in Tokyo as the more immediate challenge.

According to government figures released this week, instances of fighter jets scrambling into the skies above Japan jumped by 73 percent in the six months through September, led by sorties confronting Russian bombers and spy planes.

Japan jets scrambling to counter rising Russian incursions – Yahoo News

HT to @EktropicEpic at Twitter.

Japanese General Calls on US Military to Confront China | Military.com

In stark contrast to White House policy, a top Japanese general on Tuesday said the U.S. military rebalance of forces to the Pacific should confront Chinese aggression in the region.

Japanese Gen. Kiyofumi Iwata, chief of staff of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, said that “some countries want to change the status quo by force” in the region.

“This is a reality we must face up to,” Iwata said.

He then made clear his intent with a reference to China’s declaration late last year of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea to include the disputed islets called the Senkakus by Japan and the Diaoyu by China.

China warned at the time that aircraft passing through the ADIZ without identifying themselves could be subject to “emergency measures.”

Japanese General Calls on US Military to Confront China | Military.com

Japan, US Revising Defense Plans With Eye on China – ABC News

Japan and the United States are revising their mutual defense guidelines for the first time in nearly two decades to respond to China’s military expansion and increase Japan’s role in regional defense.

An interim report released Wednesday says the U.S. and Japan are pursuing a wider partnership that requires “enhanced capabilities and greater shared responsibilities.”

The revision, the first since 1997, comes at a time of heightened Japan-China tensions over islands claimed by both countries in the East China Sea, as well as continuing concern about North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development.

“What we need to address today is quite different from what we were aiming for in 1997,” Koji Kano, a Defense Ministry official in the Japan-U.S. cooperation division, told reporters earlier this week. “The point is how Japan and the U.S. can respond better in the current environment.”

Japan, US Revising Defense Plans With Eye on China – ABC News

Why Do So Many Chinese Expect War? | The National Interest Blog

“Most alarming is the high level of anticipation for war among the Chinese public. And thanks in part to an endless parade of World War II television dramas, the target is clear: Japan.”

“A defense academic warns the nation to prepare for World War III.”

A professor of classical music in Beijing startled me in 2010 when he said, “When I look at my students, I fear we are headed for war within five years.”

“War with whom?,” I enquired.

“With anyone.”

What do the Chinese people themselves want? As patriots, they want wealth, power and respect for their country.

Those same words are depressingly imaginable today, with the roles reversed. Xi Jinping commands the PLA to be battle-ready. The state media uses harsh words like “unswerving,” “unflinching,” and “uncompromising.” A defense academic warns the nation to prepare for World War III. An active-duty PLA major general scoffs that Japan can be “taught a lesson” with a third of his forces. No wonder 64% of Chinese surveyed think “hardening our position” is the way to resolve territorial disputes.

Why Do So Many Chinese Expect War? | The National Interest Blog

US-China-Japan: Beware the ‘Megarian Trap’ | The Diplomat

If China does attempt to coerce Japan economically, Tokyo may well find itself with no alternative but to ask for Washington’s direct intervention. To the disappointment of liberal internationalists, WTO and multilateral organizations would not be able to dissuade China. Moreover, WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism would probably be too slow to alleviate the damage to the Japanese economy. (In the rare earth case it took four years.) The argument Tokyo would present to Washington would be powerful and rational: China, the Japanese side would argue, is breaking norms of the liberal global order that are vital for worldwide economic stability and thus threatens not only Japan’s prosperity but also America’s economic security. The United States would have no choice but to directly intervene and prevail on China to show responsibility and drop any trade embargo or take the necessary steps to protect Japanese investments in China. This would put China in Athens’ position. Would Beijing accept Washington’s lecturing or would it, like Athens, tell Tokyo it must take the case to arbitration (at the WTO)? That is not an easy question to answer, given the likely Chinese public anger at both Japan and the U.S., and the difficulty the authorities would have taming nationalistic resentment. As Thucydides’ history shows, economic embargoes can be seen as an act of war. With its long tradition of commerce with Asia, and in the interests of peace, China would be advised to abstain from using economic coercion to resolve its disputes with Japan.

The triangular relationship among the U.S., China and Japan is the defining dynamic for peace in our time. Certainly, the U.S. must be prepared to live with a rising China. As the scholar Robert Scalapino puts it, the U.S. should deal with problems patiently and with strategic maturity. For its part, China should not let “old hatreds and insults” interrupt its recovery and should stay committed to its commercial engagement with the world. In the question of potestas vs. auctoritas, China should choose the latter and lead by attraction rather than coercion. In that sense, Beijing should solve issues with Japan through arbitration before things reach the nationalistic “street” in Tokyo or Beijing and get out of hand. The treatment of the recent delegation of Japanese businessmen in Beijing could perhaps be seen as a positive first step.

US-China-Japan: Beware the ‘Megarian Trap’ | The Diplomat

Sino-Japanese ties worrying – The Nation

The prospects for Sino-Japanese relations are worrying when 90 per cent of the Japanese people surveyed said they have a bad impression of China and 80 per cent of the Chinese surveyed said they feel the same way about Japan, according to the latest survey conducted by China Daily in China and the non-profit organisation Genron NPO in Japan.

What is even more worrying is that 32.9 per cent of the Japanese surveyed believe that ties between the two countries will further deteriorate, while the percentage of Chinese surveyed holding the same view was as high as 62.6 per cent. Both are higher than the figures of last year.

The Japanese respondents who believe that military conflict between the two countries will not happen dropped from 46.7 per cent last year to 38 per cent this year, while 42.2 per cent of the Chinese surveyed think that military conflict will take place between the two, higher than the 35.3 per cent last year.

For the leaders of the two neighbours, these findings should be cause for concern.

Sino-Japanese ties worrying – The Nation

Japan, U.S. discussing offensive military capability for Tokyo – Japan officials | Reuters

Japan and the United States are exploring the possibility of Tokyo acquiring offensive weapons that would allow Japan to project power far beyond its borders, Japanese officials said, a move that would likely infuriate China.

While Japan’s intensifying rivalry with China dominates the headlines, Tokyo’s focus would be the ability to take out North Korean missile bases, said three Japanese officials involved in the process.

They said Tokyo was holding the informal, previously undisclosed talks with Washington about capabilities that would mark an enhancement of military might for a country that has not fired a shot in anger since its defeat in World War Two.

Exclusive: Japan, U.S. discussing offensive military capability for Tokyo – Japan officials | Reuters