Japan cabinet approves defense white paper 2015

Updated: 2015-07-21 13:41


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TOKYO - The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday approved a defense white paper for 2015, in which it describes the security situation surrounding Japan has become "increasingly tough."

The annual paper was approved after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version as it had "failed to contain any reference to China's construction of offshore platform in the East China Sea," according to local media.

Its passage also came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling coalition's steamrolling of security-related bills through the lower house of parliament despite overwhelming oppositions from the public and opposition parties.

In this 400-plus page document, Japan demands China to stop build a new offshore platform that could be used for "military purposes" in the East China Sea (ECS), saying Japan has "repeatedly protested" Beijing's unilateral action in what some suspect is an attempt to force changes in the status quo in the ECS as well as in the South China Sea.

Regarding Japan's accusations, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded earlier this month when partial contents of the paper were disclosed that "China's relevant activities are in waters within China's jurisdiction beyond any dispute. The protests by Japan are groundless, and China does not accept the unreasonable request of Japan."

Japan also criticized China for its military spending, saying it is now 41 times higher than in fiscal 1989.

"The increase is consistent with China's robust economic growth, " Hua said, adding that those criticisms are an attempt to exaggerate the claimed threat that China poses to regional stability.

Analysts here believe that by playing up the surrounding threat, the Abe administration provides excuses for formulating a more proactive new national defense policy, evidence for remolding its Self-Defense Forces and for amending the post-war pacifist constitution.

The paper also referred to the announcement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that it had successfully test-fired a newly developed submarine-launched ballistic missile, claiming its nuclear tests pose a significant threat to Japan's security.

It also pointed to the conflict between Russia and the United States and Europe over the crisis in Ukraine, as well as Moscow's increased military activity in the Asia-Pacific, the Arctic, Europe and near the mainland of the United States.

Japan released its first white paper on defense in 1970 and has been compiling new versions annually since 1976.