News / Asia

Japan Ups Military Spending Amid China Dispute

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera speaks at a news conference at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo December 17, 2013.
Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera speaks at a news conference at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo December 17, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
Japan has announced a large defense build-up and national security strategy aimed at countering China's increasingly assertive claims on disputed territory. The plan calls for increased air and maritime capabilities and comes just weeks after Beijing alarmed the region by unilaterally expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.

Japan's Cabinet on Tuesday released details of its first defense spending increase in years, along with a national security plan designed with Chinese aggression in mind.

The five-year budget earmarks more than $230 billion for fighter jets, combat and amphibious vehicles, as well as surveillance drones and early warning aircraft.

The national security strategy is Japan's first since it formed a U.S.-style National Security Council to streamline defense policy.

(File) This photo from Oct. 13, 2011, shows Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea.(File) This photo from Oct. 13, 2011, shows Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea.
x
(File) This photo from Oct. 13, 2011, shows Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea.
(File) This photo from Oct. 13, 2011, shows Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force plane flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea.
It centers on Japan's southwest where Beijing is increasingly aggressive in a dispute over ownership of the Japan-administered Senkaku islands, known as Diaoyu in China.

The security policy underscores expanding the capabilities of Japan's Self Defense Forces in the face of Chinese intrusions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed re-defining Japan's pacifist military and spoke to journalists after the announcement.

He says the National Security Strategy shows Japan's diplomatic and security policy to the Japanese people, as well as the international community, with clarity and transparency. He says through international cooperation and their "proactive" peace policy, Japan will continue efforts to make even more of a contribution to international peace and stability.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Japan's Kyodo news agency reports under the security policy Tokyo will deepen defense relations with the United States and seek a more pro-active role for its Self-Defense Forces overseas.

Japan's neighbors, who suffered under its colonial rule and World War II aggression, are wary of Mr. Abe's efforts to redefine the role of Japan's military and pacifist constitution.

China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday criticized Japan's defense policy. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying called on Japan to face up to history and not just talk peace but take constructive actions.

She says Japan's policy on military security affects the entire region's security environment. She says Asian countries, including China, as well as the international community are paying close attention to these negative trends and are maintaining high alert.

Tensions over history, and a separate island dispute, have kept relations between U.S. allies Japan and South Korea frigid while Seoul and Beijing bonded somewhat over their shared mistreatment.

But China was soundly criticized by Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. in late November for abruptly announcing the expansion of its Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

The new ADIZ overlaps international waters as well as the islands disputed with Japan and a South Korean occupied reef, raising the risk of conflict.

A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter, Aug. 10, 2012.A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter, Aug. 10, 2012.
x
A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter, Aug. 10, 2012.
A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter, Aug. 10, 2012.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry rebuked Japan for including the disputed Dokdo islands, known as Takeshima in Japan, in its security strategy.  But spokesman Cho Tai-young stopped short of criticizing Japan's military build-up.

He says there must be no case affecting stability in the region. He says the government's position is that Japan's defense and security program must be done in a transparent way, respecting the ideology of its peaceful constitution and the principle of its exclusively defensive security policy.

Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Japan's Temple University, says China's expanded air defense zone has pushed Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington closer together.

“And, Japan's reaction to Seoul's announcement of its own expanded ADIZ was very low key even though it overlaps the Japanese ADIZ. So, I think that we're far from a thaw in Korean-Japanese relations but, compared to what's been going over the last year, I guess this is one of the more encouraging signs,” said Kingston.

Japan's national security strategy also notes concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs and budgets for two new Aegis missile destroyers.

The strategy will also set up new guidelines for joint development and production of arms exports. Tokyo in 2011 lifted a four-decade-old ban on weapons exports but has been cautious to grow its defense industry.

VOA Seoul Bureau producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sun tzu from: md
December 18, 2013 7:12 PM
The first island chain is an idiotic idea dreamed up by those intent on containing China's access to the Pacific. The Soviet Union took over the entire Kurile island chain in 1945 because it did not wish to have its access to the Pacific blocked by Japan.

The Senkaku islands are not part of the Okinawa chain but are the last link in a long line of islands extending all along the east coast of China. Just as the Russians, the Chinese do not want their access blocked by a former adversary, especially one who caused so much death and destruction to their country in WWII.

The proponents of containment will naturally want to dismiss the history of Japanese aggression in China when dealing with the current situation, since Japan's amnesia of WWII is notorious. But to expect the world's second largest economy to acquiesce to a former aggressor to completely control its free access to the sea is preposterous if not disingenious.
In Response

by: jim dandy from: cucamomnga
December 21, 2013 6:41 PM
history is a separate issue why would anyone want to contain a nice democratically elected country like china? lol lie much?
In Response

by: justice_first from: Ca
December 19, 2013 5:34 PM
well said.

by: alex from: UK
December 18, 2013 6:00 PM
Xi Jingping took a clear path.. He wants to use the force to get what he claims.. He should be careful, he's having issues with India, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan (thus the U.S.A.).. If his objective is isolating China and lead all the other countries to team up against it, he's almost accomplished his mission.. Because, for true that may be that Abe is a nationalist, it's also true that Japan's controlling those islands since the end of 18th century, that China recognized it when signing the end of the war back then, and that U.S.A. gave them back to Japan at the end of their control... China disagree? let's bring it to U.N.

Sending vessels and disregardings the international rules is not how things are done in 2014

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 18, 2013 4:04 AM
It is deffinately correct Abe's administration has been direting Japan toward a bellicose nation steadily. The protection of national secracy law has been passed unilaterally against the rallys of opposition. He is going to reform the pacifist constitution as admitting the right of collective defence forces as well as deployment of military forces to battle fields.

Japanese public will is not necessarily the same as Abe's policy as a recent pubric-opinion poll shows his approval rate gets declining the lowest ever since his second inauguration. The only one factor which keeps his administration looking steady is a present good economic situation. I guess Abe's administration would break down before long because this good economy is superficial owing to weak yen and high stock prices so that it would shrink near future probably after sales tax rise scheduled in the next sring.

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
December 17, 2013 10:15 PM
Yes, Japanese have to pay the fare of confrontation for his lord the USA to confine China to the first link chain of archipelago .In West Pacific Ocean,with the growing military of China,the USA is wimpier and wimpier, no longer sufficient power to contend against China and Russia.Japanese are set to spend much more money for his lord.
Anyone who want to stop the historical vehicle wheels would be crushed regardless of who it involved, how much he spend or how powerful he is.

by: Anonymous
December 17, 2013 12:37 PM
Yes let's spending billions on our militaries to intimidate the other guy over a bunch of useless rocks in the ocean.
In Response

by: Gene S from: USA
December 17, 2013 6:27 PM
The Senkaku issue is not about some "rocks". It is a part of China's territorial expansion scheme where it is in dispute with Vietnam and the Philippines. The Senkakus are a pathway for the Chines Navy to get out into the Pacific. China has declared their intent to oust the US Navy from the western pacific and replace the US as the dominant strategic power in the region. (Their words). Japan and other Asian nations do not want the world's most powerful dictatorship taking over Asia. The west helped China attain it's economic status thinking it would bring them closer to democracy. The plan failed. They are more totalitarian than ever, nationalism is rampant and eager to challenge the United States.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More