News / Asia

New Japan Defense Paper Angers Neighbors

China and South Korea are criticizing the latest defense report released by Japan.

As the annual security white paper was released Tuesday, Japan's defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, took note of what the government considers increasingly serious security threats from China.

The Japanese defense minister says the Chinese “have attempted to change the status quo by force in ways incompatible with the existing order of international law and in ways that could be seen as provocative.”

Japan and China have a long-standing dispute over small islands in the East China Sea controlled by Tokyo. Tension has escalated since the central Japanese government, last September, purchased the unoccupied islands (known as Senkaku in Japanese and Daoiyu in Chinese) from their private Japanese owner.

Within hours of the issuance of the Japanese white paper, the foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing responded by accusing Tokyo of making unfounded accusations against China.

Hua Chunying says China's maritime activities are carried out according to international law, the country is on the path of peaceful development and always stands for resolving territorial disputes through dialogue. But, she says, Japan has recently “played up the China threat, causing tensions and confrontation. And the international community cannot help but worry over where Japan is heading.”

The white paper also suggests Japanese forces should have the capability to attack enemy bases as an effective deterrent against ballistic missile threats.

That is in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, as indicated by defense minister Onodera.

However, South Korea - also a potential target of the rival North's forces - is joining China in criticizing the Japanese document. That is because the annual paper - as it has since 2005 - asserts a territorial claim over a rocky outcrop, covering less than one-fifth of a square kilometer, held by South Korea (known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese).

South Korean army Colonel Wi Yong-seop, speaking for the country's defense ministry, denies Japan has any geographical, historical or legal right to the rocks.

Colonel Wi says if Japan refuses to withdraw its territorial claim there can be no expectations of defense exchanges or military cooperation between the two neighbors.

This is the first such report published since Shinzo Abe returned as Japan's prime minister. He has expressed a desire to alter his country's pacifist Constitution, drafted by U.S. military occupation forces shortly after Japan's defeat in 1945.

That makes some of Japan's neighbors uneasy, believing it could lead to a revival of Japanese militarism. There is a widespread perception in the region that Japan has never sufficiently expressed remorse for its brutal colonization of the Far East and much of the Asian continent before and during the Pacific War.

Japan, for the first time in eleven years, this year increased its defense budget and is drafting a new overall defense plan. It is also increasing the scope of defense drills with its primary ally, the United States, which maintains more than a dozen military bases and tens of thousands of uniformed personnel in Japan.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 10, 2013 12:55 AM
I can say most of Japanese politicians seem bad at dealing with diplomacy. They tend to pay more attention to unilateral interests than bilateral benefits weighing less on talks and reconcilliation.

PM Abe is noticed as a atrong hawk and aiming at renewing the constitution from pushed one to original one which allows self-defence forces attack opponents. Recently Japanese pubric opinion has put him refrain from such a challenge to make measures easy to amend the constitution. The main reason why he has yet maintained relatively high pubric support is so far his economical policies are going well.

I wish our neighbors would see us general Japanese as peace lovers. Now more than two thirds of population were born after WWII. We want to get along with neighbors.



by: JT from: SF
July 09, 2013 10:18 PM
To Victor,
What about China? China does not have any problems with her neighbors? China did not attack India? China did not attack Vietnam? China is just a big panda. Harmless. Right? The un elected leaders of China are wise and peaceful.

by: ponsuke from: Japan
July 09, 2013 9:56 AM
This report offers a very superficial insight about the issue. Mr. Herman may be a left-wing or a pro China reporter.
In Response

by: Victor from: Singapore
July 09, 2013 7:53 PM
And how is this report 'superficial' except stating the facts that Japan's neighbors are genuinely angered. The fact that Japan has serious border issues with practically all her neighbors and the abhorrent war history views that her leaders hold are very telling indeed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs