Japan highlights China as 'security threat'

Updated: 2013-07-10 03:06

By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Cai Hong in Tokyo (China Daily)

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Latest defense white paper reflects Tokyo's plans for military buildup

Japan highlighted China as a major security threat in its latest defense white paper released on Tuesday, using harsher language than in previous papers.

Observers said that by describing the security environment as increasingly severe, Tokyo has given itself an excuse to accelerate its military buildup and strengthen the Japan-US defense relationship.

In addition to the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear program, China was once again blamed in the annual report for expanding its maritime presence.

Mentioning the ongoing tension over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, the document said some of China's regular patrol activities in the relevant waters and airspace were "dangerous actions that could cause a contingency and are extremely regrettable".

Compared with last year's white paper, this year's edition elaborates on the protection of the remote offshore islands. For the first time, the document discloses Tokyo's detailed combat contingency plans for handling territorial disputes.

Wang Ping, a researcher on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Japanese military has been running a scenario of retaking remote islands to win more public support for lifting restrictions on the country's armed forces.

"The security issue may be a preferred option now for the ruling party to gain voters' support in the upcoming upper-house elections later this month, because many Japanese are not interested in the proposals for revising the pacifist constitution," Wang said.

According to the contingency plans unveiled by the white paper, "If signs of attack are detected in advance, Self-Defense Forces troops will be concentrated in the expected area before the enemy units' deployment and try to deter enemy attacks."

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