A new report prepared by the Japanese government has named the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ambitions in the Asia-Pacific as a growing threat to peace in the region, with Tokyo calling out Beijing’s partnership with Russia and its designs of Taiwan.
The paper, approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet, is the first since the country’s adoption of its National Security Strategy in December last year, AP News reported. Running 510 pages, it cites the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and North Korea as factors contributing to “the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II,” while emphasizing China’s recent military activities.
Tokyo named the PRC as a “serious concern for Japan and the international community” and that China presented the “greatest” and “unprecedented strategic challenge.”
Nikkei Asia also reported that the paper also stated the military balance between China and Taiwan is “rapidly tilting to China’s favor.”
On July 27, delegates from Russia and China met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang to attend a military parade, which featured the country’s assortment of drones and long range missiles.
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Tokyo said the show of force was “clearly intended for demonstration of force against Japan and [was] of grave concern.” Moscow and China have launched simultaneous military flights and naval navigations, tying the two together strategically.
In response to the defense paper, PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said it “deliberately played up the so-called Chinese threat and created tensions in the region.” She added that Tokyo’s military buildup has also caused concern amongst Asian countries, warning them to “stop finding excuses for its military expansion.”
According to CNN, top CCP diplomat Wang Yi urged both Japan and South Korea to cooperate with China to “revitalize Asia” and to not rely on U.S. support.
Amidst the tensions, Japan has also placed an export ban on microchip technologies to China, following the U.S. and the Netherlands that have implemented similar restrictions.
This defense report came seven months after the implementation of new national security and defense strategies, all of which culminated from Japan’s accelerated military budget of around 43 trillion Japanese yen (US $310 billion) by 2027.
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It is feared that, by 2035, China will have 1,500 nuclear warhead, which will assist them in asserting their repressive hold on Taiwan.
Claiming possession of the self-governing island, PRC leader Xi Jinping plans to build a “world-class military” that would assert dominance over Taiwan.
This would put Japanese territories like Okinawa at risk, which has prompted the the island’s governor to call for reduced U.S. bases to allow for “greater efforts in diplomacy and dialogue with Beijing.” The scars of the Battle of Okinawa, made many decades ago, still run deep within the Okinawan population, and residents fear that they would be the first to fall should a military conflict break out.
To prepare the island residents, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno visited Ishigaki last week to vow his support for them and acknowledge “the challenges of evacuating” the people. Ishigaki Mayor, Yoshitaka Nakayama, also requested additional protection for “airport and port facilities,” along with underground shelters.
North Korea has also been more aggressive. The nation continues to develop its nuclear arsenal and has become “a graver, more imminent threat to Japan than ever before,” the report said.
Since 2022, Pyongyang has test-launched almost 100 missiles, and the report claimed that it can now launch warheads that can reach both Japan and the United States.
Despite its improving ties with Japan, South Korea has criticized the defense paper for Tokyo’s claims over one of their contested islands, saying it is “unjust.”