• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:03am

Sino-Japanese relations

The relationship between the two largest economies in Asia has been marred throughout the 20th century due to territorial and political disputes including Taiwanese sovereignty; the invasion of China by Japan in the second world war and Japan’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge the extent of its war crimes; territorial disputes surrounding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and associated fishing rights and energy resources; and Japanese-American security co-operation.   

NewsAsia
DEFENCE

China's 'dangerous acts' at sea could have consequences, warns Japan white paper

Tokyo criticises Chinese and North Korean military action in disputed waters, stoking concerns over a possible escalation in conflict

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 11:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 2:43am

Japan warned that China’s “dangerous acts” over territorial claims in the East China Sea could lead to “unintended consequences” in the region, as fears grow of a potential military clash.

Japan’s annual defence white paper was adopted by hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ministers at a cabinet meeting, heaping criticism on Beijing’s unilateral declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) late last year.

The ADIZ sparked regional criticism as well as condemnation from Washington, while commentators voiced concern over the growing chances of an armed conflict between the two Asian powers.

Tokyo’s paper noted that China's military budget had quadrupled over the past decade and said Japan was seeing an “increasingly severe” security environment.

By comparison, Japan’s military budget had been on the decline since 2002, but it took an upward turn, rising 2.2 per cent in the current fiscal year, according to the paper.

“Japan is deeply concerned about the establishment of ‘the East China Sea ADIZ’ which is profoundly dangerous act that … [may] escalate the situation and may cause unintended consequences” in the region, the 505-page paper said.

Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached an East China Sea archipelago claimed by both countries after Tokyo nationalised some of the chain in 2012, which is believed to harbour vast natural resources below its seabed.

The islands are called the Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.

In a June confrontation, Tokyo said that two Chinese fighter jets flew within 30 metres of its aircraft in an area where the two nations’ air defence zones overlap.

Beijing responded that it was Japanese military planes that flew dangerously close to its aircraft.

China has also laid claim to much of the South China Sea, angering Vietnam, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

“In regard to conflicts over maritime interests, China has adopted assertive measures, including attempting to alter the status quo by coercive measures … which is incompatible with the existing international law and order,” the paper said.

“These measures include dangerous acts that could cause unintended consequences and raise concerns over China’s future direction,” it added.

Tokyo’s defence paper also warned that an unpredictable North Korea “repeatedly uses militarily provocative words and actions”.

“Such military trends in North Korea constitute a serious destabilising factor to the security not only of Japan but of the entire region and the international community,” the paper said.

It briefly mentioned other territorial disputes including a row over Seoul-controlled islets – called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan – and the Russian-administered Kuril Islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories.

“These territorial issues remain unsolved,” it said.

Abe has vowed to boost spending on Japan’s Self-Defence Forces, with Tokyo last month loosening the bonds on its powerful military, proclaiming the right to go into battle in defence of allies. The move was a highly controversial shift in the nation’s pacifist stance.

Abe’s government has also lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports.

His cabinet has agreed to spend 24.7 trillion yen (HK$1.87 trillion) between this year and 2019 on various hardware, including drones, submarines, fighter jets and amphibious vehicles.

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This article is now closed to comments

Jonathan Smith
Japan's government should return to China the Diaoyu Islands which belongs to China. That would be what is required of Japan under the terms of her unconditional surrender in 1945. Instead of breaking international law Japan must start complying with it.
req
Another form of Nipponese sanitary wipes... just like their flag....
allan94
i cant wait for china to colonise japan. it would be a new experience for them.
ablewang
Americans are not stupid. In fact they are smart to encourage Japan to go to war with China with more weapons sales. That's good business, easy money from Japan yet no American lives are lost.
giggsy72
Just as soon as China starts complying with international law. "Glass houses" and all that!
daily
Abe is looking for war and is doing everything he can to provoke it.............Only the Americans are stupid enough to not see this and standing up behind the Japanese.
Daniel Lee
Japanese government actions are very criminal in nature just like their war criminals ancestors. In reinterpreting it's "Peace Constitution" Japan is using unconstitutional means to get around the spirit and purpose of the "Peace Constitution" making it into a "War Constitution:. These kind of manipulations proves the illegality of Japanese moves to make japan into a militaristic country again. By manipulating her "Peace Constitution", Japan is trying to join the US on her illegal wars. The reinterpretation of Japan's "Peace Constitution" is tantamount to allowing Japan to break laws just like allowing rapists to rape when the law forbids crimes like rape. This kind of behaviour is a repeat of what happened during the 1930's. Japan not only violates her constitution but also breaks international law. Shinzo Abe's government is the worse thing that can happen to Japan and is a threat to Japan's neighbours.
53b625c6-e688-4f69-b873-743d0a320969
Abe is not living in reality.
Japan has set up ADIZ more than 40 years ago.
Did China condemn Japan for being aggressive?
Japan started the whole instability in E China sea by breaking the 1970 consensus to shelf Diaoyu issue to a future day.
Without any consultation with China or anyone else, Japan unilaterally nationalized Chinese islands.
The subsequent provocations are glaring such as to include Chinese diaoyu in **** map and changed school textbooks to include Diaoyu to be part of Japan.
Now Abe is insane enough to name the five inlets.
Abe is living in a zone where facts do not exist.
baysidedweller
Abe can do all the "spinning" he wants, but facts are facts:
Japan started the whole escalation of tensions in the region by unilaterally, without consultation, nationalized the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
This is called: e ren xian gaozhuang, the offender is first to complain.
ennoun
It certainly appears that China is indeed the aggressor, not only with matters involving Japan, but also with most of the other countries in the region. Caractacus' comments seem to be right on.
In a conflict with Japan, that is equiped with superior weaponry and equipment and much better training of their soldiers, allan94's comment about China colonizing Japan is not realistic. Let's not forget that Japan has some pretty strong allies that have been helping contain China for years and would not sit idle given the chance to bring her to her knees once again. Which countries would rush to China's help........?

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