Report: Japan's military buildup cause for worry

Updated: 2014-07-24 07:12

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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Think tank's assessment points to 'unprecedented breakthroughs'

Japan's military buildup includes "unprecedented breakthroughs in all security and military-related domains", a Chinese think tank said on Wednesday, warning of the deteriorating security situation in the region.

"The post-war pacifistic course has been significantly derailed and a 'milestone' military development and strategic shift could be made," the report said in an assessment of the growth of the Japanese military in 2013.

The report was issued by the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association.

It said the breakthroughs in Japan are occurring in every conceivable aspect, "from concepts, strategy and policies to defense organization, military equipment and deployment".

Report: Japan's military buildup cause for worry

Citing one example, the report said that in December 2013, Tokyo released Japan's first post-war National Security Strategy, its new National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program for 2014-19, known collectively as the "three arrows" of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security policy.

The documents outlined major changes in post-war Japan's national security strategy and defense policies, the report said.

In December, the Japanese version of the National Security Council was established.

These measures led to Abe's announcement that Japan's military has the right to deploy troops overseas under its new "collective self-defense" policy, marking a radical shift in the country's post-war pacifist stance.

The report also said Tokyo has begun to discuss the possibility of developing preemptive operational capabilities "beyond actual defense requests, and stepped up the research and development of offensive weapons".

According to the 2013 defense budget, Japan's spending on warships and military aircraft increased by 23 percent compared with last year, while its research and development budget on new military equipment and technology rose by 60 percent.

Advanced equipment and personnel have been deployed increasingly in the southwest of the country, apparently targeting China.

"Japan always accuses China of breaking the status quo, but what is the truth? And who is breaking the restrictions the international community imposed on the defeated countries after World War II?" Luo Yuan, a retired major general who is deputy executive of the association and an influential figure in Chinese military studies, asked at a media conference on the report's release.

Fan Gaoyue, a specialist from the association, said that in the past year, high-ranking Japanese officials have visited a number of countries in the region to persuade them to counter China.

But he remains optimistic about China's political and military relations with those countries, as "they will make decisions based on their own national interests".

The report also said Abe's efforts have met with US support, both public and tacit, so that Japan can accelerate its strategic and policy adjustments to support the US pivot to Asia.

However, the report said, Japan will "pursue strategic independence from the US while continuing to act as its tactical follower".

The report was published in tandem with an assessment of the capabilities of the US armed forces.