Category Archives: Japan

Japan Is Becoming Player in South China Sea Sovereignty Dispute

Japan is building up its influence in the South China Sea, the most widely contested body of water in Asia, to curb Chinese expansion and garner support for its broader military as well as economic interests.

In May, Japan will send its Izumo helicopter-carrying warship to the South China Sea for three months of port visits in Southeast Asia before directing it onward to the Indian Ocean for drills with the United States, according to the U.S. Naval Institute’s news website.

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“You see this warship more as a multipurpose platform,” said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “It can do humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It can do anti-submarine warfare, so a few signals Japan wants to send via this deployment.”

Japan Is Becoming Player in South China Sea Sovereignty Dispute

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a series of meetings in Asia this week with the region in a military turmoil.

North Korean missiles streaking toward Japan.

US anti-missile batteries arriving in South Korea.

China’s foreign minister fearing a massive military confrontation is about to happen.

China’s state news agency openly speculating Asia is on the verge of a nuclear arms race, the likes of which has not been seen since the Cold War.

Each one of these things alone would be enough to destabilize the status quo.

Taken together, they have placed tensions in North Asia on a knife’s edge.

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

US, Japan conduct successful missile interception test – CNNPolitics.com

The US and Japan have passed a crucial test for missile defense, shooting down a medium-range ballistic missile with a new interceptor launched from a guided-missile destroyer.

The US Missile Defense Agency announced that the USS John Paul Jones detected, tracked and took out the target ballistic missile using its onboard Aegis Missile Defense System and a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor.

The test took place Friday night off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

US, Japan conduct successful missile interception test – CNNPolitics.com

Islands on the frontline of a new global flashpoint: China v Japan | World news | The Guardian

While the South China Sea has drawn attention, the Senkaku Islands have become the site of renewed tension

Its strategic plans for the East China Sea have drawn less attention, perhaps because developments have not been so dramatic. But the prospect of tensions escalating into hostilities is real.

It faces in Japan a more powerful rival than any farther south, and one that has the US as a protector, bound by treaty to come to Tokyo’s aid if its territory is attacked. Relations between the uneasy neighbours are so strained that they have not even got a hotline set up for military communication in a crisis, despite years of talks aimed at establishing one.

The issue is so pressing that when new US defence secretary James Mattis visited Tokyo last week, confirming America’s commitment to defend the islands was top of the foreign minister’s agenda.

Islands on the frontline of a new global flashpoint: China v Japan | World news | The Guardian

Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China – CNN.com

China responded quickly to the US stance on the disputed islands, saying it brings instability to the region.

“Diaoyu and its affiliated islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times. These are historical facts that cannot be changed. The so-called US-Japan security treaty was a product of the Cold War, and it should not harm China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.

“We urge the US side to adopt a responsible attitude and stop making wrong remarks on the issue of the sovereignty of Diaoyu Islands,” Lu said.

Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China – CNN.com

Amazon.Com: The Coming War between China and Japan

As recently as five years ago, it would have seemed incredible that Northeast Asia would become one of the world’s most dangerous powder kegs. To be sure, there were the periodic provocations coming out of North Korea, but the world has learned to deal with them. There were the same territorial disputes, but they didn’t seem to take on the inflated importance they do today.

In contrast to five years ago, the once unthinkable proposition of a new Sino-Japanese war is increasingly possible. China has already provoked two armed clashes with neighbors over disputed but uninhabited islands, first with Russia in 1969 and with Vietnam in 1974.

The Coming War between China and Japan explains how a “short, sharp war”, to quote the former chief of naval intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, could break out over the disputed Senkaku/Daioyu islands in the East China Sea either by a deliberate provocation or by an incident at sea or in the air that escalates into war between China and Japan. As Japan’s protector, the United States will inevitably be drawn in.

Todd Crowell
For fourteen years (1987-2001) Todd Crowell worked as a Senior Writer for Asiaweek, the leading English-language newsmagazine in Asia, published in Hong Kong by Time. He has published three books: Farewell, My Colony: Last Years in the Life of British Hong Kong (1998); Tokyo: City on the Edge (2001) and Explore Macau: a Guide and History, and the forthcoming Dictionary of the Asian Language. He has contributed to the Christian Science Monitor; Asian Wall Street Journal and other publications. He currently reports on the Chinese world (Hong Kong), Southeast Asia (Thailand) and now Japan, where he serves as Japan correspondent for Anadolu, the Turkish news agency, and a contributor to World Politics Review and RealClearWorld.com.

The Coming War (Kindle Single) – Kindle edition by Todd Crowell. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Japan drill to simulate China clash with Taiwan – The Straits Times

Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF) will carry out a simulated exercise next week on the assumption that China and Taiwan are engaged in a military clash, a government source has said.

The SDF will carry out the exercise from Jan 23 to Jan 27, with the United States military participating as an observer, the source said.

The drill will take place based on a scenario that the US military and the SDF jointly deal with Chinese military forces in the event of a clash between China and Taiwan, reported Kyodo news agency.

Japan drill to simulate China clash with Taiwan – The Straits Times

Japan’s existential crisis – The Globe and Mail

Well before Donald Trump came along, casting doubt on U.S. defence of the Asia-Pacific, Japan began to fear for its future in a region threatened by a fast-militarizing China and a nuclear-bound North Korea. But Mr. Trump’s election has turned a previously academic debate into a political hot potato for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Suddenly, a country deeply wedded to pacifism is asking whether it must prepare itself for war.

For Japan, which has yet to come fully to terms with its imperialistic past, the debate is nothing short of existential. Japan’s Constitution, written during the country’s U.S. occupation following the Second World War, renounces war as a sovereign right and even prohibits the maintenance of a standing army. Instead, Japan’s so-called Self-Defence Forces (SDF) have been limited to providing disaster and humanitarian relief. The heavy lifting for Japan’s security has fallen to the United States, which has 54,000 troops stationed in Okinawa and elsewhere.

Japan’s existential crisis – The Globe and Mail

China Should Heed Pearl Harbor’s Lessons – Bloomberg View

For all the differences between Imperial Japan in the 1930s and Communist China today, I can’t help but see parallels between the two. Like Japan then, China is a rising Asian nation whose thinking is informed by patriotism, suspicion of outsiders and the remnants of an inferiority complex toward the West. Its military seems not entirely constrained by civilian control. And just as Japan did in the 1930s, China is defying international opinion and challenging the maritime status quo in the western Pacific, where the U.S. defends vital sea lines of communication for all nations.

China Should Heed Pearl Harbor’s Lessons – Bloomberg View

Japanese Intelligence Tells Pentagon China Engaged in Multi-Year Takeover Attempt of Senkaku Islands – Washington Free Beacon

China is escalating a campaign of military maritime coercion against Japan’s Senkaku Islands, according to Japanese intelligence data disclosed as part of a joint Pentagon-Japan research program.

Additionally, China is doubling the size of its coast guard forces over the next five years to prevent the disruption of oil supplies that travel from the Middle East through the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, according to Pentagon-sponsored reports about the joint U.S.-Japan collaboration. Two reports produced by a contractor for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, a secretive research group, provide a rare glimpse of Japanese intelligence assessments of Chinese military activities in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Japanese Intelligence Tells Pentagon China Engaged in Multi-Year Takeover Attempt of Senkaku Islands – Washington Free Beacon