With military tensions between Tokyo and Beijing at a new high over islands in the East China Sea and China's unilateral declaration of an air defence zone, Japan's tabloids are engaged in frenzied speculation over a looming conflict.
A diplomatic source quoted in the Sunday Mainichi news magazine expressed concern that Beijing might "accidentally on purpose" trigger an incident.
"I am worried about the possibility that they might force down a civilian airliner and hold the passengers hostage," he said.
The magazine speculated that fighting could break out as soon as January.
Another analyst, quoted by the Shukan Asahi, said that China would attempt to throttle Japan by targeting oil tankers transporting much-needed fuel.
"Japan depends on sea transport for oil and other natural resoures," author Asamu Eya told the magazine.
"If China were to target [tankers], nothing could be worse to contemplate."
Other speculation surrounds the attacks China would be likely to launch against ground radar facilities in Okianawa and Kyushu and the possible impact on civilians living nearby.
The biggest question mark is over the reaction of the United States government and forces to any act of aggression by China.
The conclusion reached by most analysts quoted in the Japanese media is that US forces would not take any risks and would shoot down any hostile aircraft.