politics

Japan says China bigger threat than nuclear-armed N Korea

50 Comments
By Tim Kelly

China's growing military might has replaced North Korean belligerence as the main security threat to Japan, Tokyo's annual defense review indicated on Thursday, despite signs that Pyongyang could have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

The document's security assessment on China comes after a section on Japan's ally, the United States, the first time Beijing has achieved second place in the Defense White Paper and pushing North Korea into third position.

Russia, deemed by Japan as its primary threat during the Cold War, was in fourth place.

"The reality is that China is rapidly increasing military spending, and so people can grasp that we need more pages," Defense Minister Taro Kono said at a media briefing.

"China is deploying air and sea assets in the Western Pacific and through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan with greater frequency."

China's Foreign Ministry expressed displeasure with the report.

China will not accept Japan's "groundless criticism" of its normal national defense and military activities, spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing in Beijing.

Japan has raised defense spending by a tenth over the past seven years to counter military advances by Beijing and Pyongyang, including defenses against North Korean missiles which may carry nuclear warheads, the paper said.

North Korea has conducted short-range missile launches this year that Tokyo believes show Pyongyang is developing projectiles to evade its Aegis ballistic missile defenses.

To stay ahead of China's modernizing military, Japan is buying U.S.-made stealth fighters and other advanced weapons.

In its latest budget request, Japan's military asked for 115.6 billion yen ($1.1 billion) to buy nine Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters, including six short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variants to operate from converted helicopter carriers.

The stealth jets, U.S.-made interceptor missiles and other equipment are part of a proposed 1.2% increase in defense spending to a record 5.32 trillion yen in the year starting April 1.

By comparison, Chinese military spending is set to rise this year by 7.5% to about $177 billion from 2018, more than three times that of Japan. Beijing is developing weapons such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers that are helping it expand the range and scope of military operations.

Once largely confined to operating close to the Chinese coast, Beijing now routinely sends its air and sea patrols near Japan's western Okinawa islands and into the Western Pacific.

China has frequently rebuffed concerns about its military spending and intentions, including an increased presence in the disputed South China Sea, and says it only desires peaceful development.

The Defense White Paper said Chinese patrols in waters and skies near Japanese territory are "a national security concern".

The paper downgraded fellow U.S. ally, South Korea, which recently pulled out of an intelligence sharing pact with Japan amid a dispute over their shared wartime history. That could weaken efforts to contain North Korean threats, analysts said.

Other allies, including Australia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India, feature more prominently in the defense paper.

South Korean government officials took issue with the White Paper's reference to ownership of an island in the Sea of Japan that is also claimed and controlled by South Korea. The outcrop is known as Dokdo in Seoul and Takeshima in Tokyo.

"Our government strongly protests Japan's repeated claim. The Japanese government should acknowledge that it is not helpful for bilateral relations," South Korea's foreign ministry said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

50 Comments
Login to comment

Ya think?

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan saying what it thinks Trump wants to hear. Get some self respect and independence.

-13 ( +10 / -23 )

Japan MUST arm up as a deterrent to make China think twice about bulling Japan around. Anything short of that and Japan will just get pushed around. The world needs to put its foot down with China. Fair open trade but only with a non-bully. Force the issue and make China start by removing its military from the built up reef islands and hand those over to the Philippines if they want them. That should be the starting price for China's aggressive acts. China needs to stop wasting its resources and money on being a military bully, it never pays off in the end. Just look at history. What makes China think its any different when they destroyed their own culture 70 years ago with their commie cultural devolution? When will those children learn?

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Japan saying what it thinks Trump wants to hear. Get some self respect and independence.

If they did, China would just take it away. The evil empire is coming.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

More war mongering from the right wing thinkers, China , Russia , North Korea aren't a threat to anyone, this is just those right wingers that want you to think that everyone is an enemy, and want to keep the military complex making billions of dollars. America has the same mentality , they think the world is going to attack them and has to keep Americans safe. Does anyone think that the movement of citizens from this region, and the business community interchanges are only for short term game, no, this part of the world is vibrant in ideas and enthusiasm for the future, and is leading the world in many fields. so lets stop with the warmongering rhetoric and start dealing in the positives of this region, and no-one cares who is no.1.

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

China's growing military might has replaced North Korean belligerence as the main security threat to Japan, Tokyo's annual defense review indicated on Thursday.

Absolutely correct assessment. Japan needs to mirror China's build-up or be left in a position of having to do what China says, when ever China says to. The only reason to want to have the biggest and best military is to get your own way in dealings with other sovereign nations. If you have the strength you tend to use it.

China has not been threatened militarily by anyone so it really has no reason to want to be the biggest military.

China wants to rule the world, by economic and diplomatic means if possible, by military means if necessary.

Only those nations that can make it not worth their effort, will be to some extent insulated from their will.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

“despite signs that Pyongyang could have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.”

China already has hydrogen-bomb-tipped ballistic missiles capable of hitting any part of Japan.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The CCP’s military wing is becoming more and more threatening to all their neighbours, so an increase to the defence budget is required regardless whether you wish it or not.

No doubt the CCP and their apologists will squeal but alas for them everyone is well aware that the root cause is their unnecessary and aggressive expansion of their military’s offensive capabilities and doctrine towards those unfortunate enough to live around them.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I've had my re education back pack packed for some time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan needs an army to balance the power in this region

Minello:

Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uyghurs, Tibet along with many other nations would strongly disagree with you.

China is not interested in your idealisms.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

We always have anxieties to undemocratic and totalitarian neighbors where things are decided by dictators.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

That is just stating the obvious. China is an upcoming superpower, and NK just Chinas vassal state.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

proposed 1.2% increase in defense spending to a record 5.32 trillion yen

More Tax Hike?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

IMO that is not the biggest threat, its the businesses and real estate procured in Japan by using front men to buy what they need. Already China owns lands and water rights, most people dont' know about this. Another threat besides the military more dangerous are the numerous Chinese spies living in Japan and some with ties to elected officials but hide it very well. Why there isn't a story about this is surprising.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

PLS LETS NOT GET RIDICULOUS. WHY does japan always picks on the rest of Asian countries ???. Superior complex and ego ???.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Personally, I think Japan is the biggest threat to itself. With all the corporate fraud, governmental corruption, food mislabeling scams and all the right wing historians trying to deny the events of WW2, Japan is not making many friends in Asia. Actually, come to think of it, Japan does not have ‘any’ friends in Asia.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

This is music to Military Arms Manufacturers ears..... bought and paid for by them in various forms.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

As mentioned by other commentators, this is what the right wingers and the US are selling, fear so you can buy more of their manufactured goods. Like an arsonist selling fire extinguishers, the US creates security issues then unloads their inventory.

The US military expenditure is greater than the next seven nations combined. Greater than those of China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan combined in that order. (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

The US got their fannies handed to them in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Without the bomb Japan would have been another Vietnam. Not really a strong army They don’t want boots on the ground. Just lob a few here and there. Does not work.

Japan needs to spend money on her own people and not buy into this pitch.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

What an odd photo. Did all these men come from the same glam-salon? Did they all go to the same state approved tanning salon? They are gorgeous men. Perhaps this is what Chinese male models do for a living.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Only Billions of Chinese to select from for the photo ops.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

rgcivilian1

IMO that is not the biggest threat, its the businesses and real estate procured in Japan by using front men to buy what they need. Already China owns lands and water rights, most people dont' know about this. Another threat besides the military more dangerous are the numerous Chinese spies living in Japan and some with ties to elected officials but hide it very well. Why there isn't a story about this is surprising

You hit the nail on the head! Well said!

Even their students studying in Japan ( and using computers in the university research labs to hack & steal important data) are a threat. Japan should wake up!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Half baked truth is more dangerous than lies. If China is more dangerous because she is more powerful, than Japan shouldn't do anything to increase its own power, because that would be a threat to the mankind.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

You hit the nail on the head! Well said!

Even their students studying in Japan ( and using computers in the university research labs to hack & steal important data) are a threat. Japan should wake up!

Not to mention the loans provided to third-world country that are impossible to pay off, so they obtain various land and water rights in those countries as well. In addition, the the development project that ship scores of Chinese workers abroad for the projects to spy and pilfer those countries in the process.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

China is a threat to the whole region.

Territorial disputes with most of its neighbors, threats to Taiwan, sharing technology with rogue nations.....

Doesn’t give much confidence they have world peace on their minds.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Please don’t tell me Japan is just realizing this! All the more reason Japan and South Korea need to de-escalate their economic feud and look at the serious security threat of a rising China.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

HJSLLS, the future of Japan and Korea depends on China, as always does.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

There are some people who are terrified by the good relationships between Japan and China, and Korea and China, and Korea and Japan. Northeast Asians are definitely not.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Neither is to be trusted that's for sure

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I see action in the The Solomon Islands and Kiribati region since they’ve switched loyalties to Beijing from Taiwan. I see the US and other pacific rim nations getting involved. This unfortunately plays into Dear Leader’s hand in terms of changing article 9 of the constitution. I see him egging China so that he can have his cake. This is sad. If Trump keeps playing his Machiavellian cards in North Korea China could find itself fighting a war alone. As much as Trump is hated, I urge him to keep the pressure on China. Economic loss is better than lives being lost. China’s imminent implosion could be closer than we imagine.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The Defense White Paper said Chinese patrols in waters and skies near Japanese territory are "a national security concern".

The word here is NEAR. Is Japan saying that anyone or anything NEAR Japan is a threat?

Perhaps it is Japans neighbours who should be concerned.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Japan says China bigger threat than nuclear-armed N Korea

Japan is not wrong.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

HJSLLSToday  09:34 pm JST

Please don’t tell me Japan is just realizing this! All the more reason Japan and South Korea need to de-escalate their economic feud and look at the serious security threat of a rising China.

Japan isn't just realizing this, they, along with the rest of the world have been saying this for years.

South Korea is the only country that has taken unilateral action to destroy the US-JPN-SK military alliance and thereby help China attain regional dominance.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

This it a true statement,North Korea is only a muppet and belongs to China.

The most racist and undemocratic country in the world,they are even worse than their former masters,the CCCP.

China is a threat of true freedom and democracy,and some totally nut brainwashed poster is a vivid example of how dangerous their propaganda can be.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We will always support freedom and democracy,feeedom of expressions and freedom of independence.

Our hearts and support goes to Taiwan,Honk Kong,but mostly TIBET and the UYGHURS.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

increased presence in the disputed South China Sea, and says it only desires peaceful development.

But they will take 5m that isn't theirs every day, unless confronted after the 1st 5m. In 100 yrs, they will claim territory was always theirs. That's just the territorial issues.

On technology, China will steal and lie and pressure Japanese companies to gain access to techniques and methods of doing everything Japan knows how to accomplish. The end goal? Never buy anything from Japan, undercut Japanese proposals everywhere else in the world, and force Japanese companies out of business because the Chinese state will subsidize the industries. The western world has a sense of "fair play", which doesn't exist in China.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

William77Today 10:49 pm JSTWe will always support freedom and democracy,feeedom of expressions and freedom of independence.

Our hearts and support goes to Taiwan,Honk Kong,but mostly TIBET and the UYGHURS.

Of course China is a greater threat to Japan than 'puny' NK. And look at those soldiers singing together in unison willing to risk their lives for the ideology of the madman scumpot Mao, who killed millions during his crazy 'Cultural Revolution' of 1966 - 1976. Scary and more than a little obscene.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Just like a middle east dictator. Say no to communism.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When China becomes a real treat to Japan, Abe govt wouldn't and dare not to say anything about it, but gives everything that China demands. That is all liberal and democratic part about.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

William77Sep. 27  10:46 pm JST

This it a true statement,North Korea is only a muppet and belongs to China.

The most racist and undemocratic country in the world,they are even worse than their former masters,the CCCP.

The USSR did not drop nuclear bombs on you.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

China is the main security to every nation on the planet followed by Iran and North Korea a level down from them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Terrorist propaganda is the same as terrorist, both are based on the belief that terror can win.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Terrorist propaganda is the same as terrorist, both are based on the belief that terror can win.

So that's what you're doing here...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

HJSLLS, the future of Japan and Korea depends on China, as always does.

That's one thing you are correct about. The future of both countries depend on if or when China decides to try to invade them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Anachronistic Chinese hegemonism is pretty obvious to everyone.

Why else break international laws and create artificial islands in the South China Sea to disavow claims by the other riparian nations?

Beijing has the idea that China needs to make up for all the lost opportunities since the days of the Qing dynasty and to show everyone, especially Europe, America and Japan who's the boss.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

HokoOnchi, Is there any international law against artificial Islands ? Japan does it all the same. In the south China sea, it is China's sea, claimed by China and discovered by China. All other claims are illegal and unlawful thus criminal.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

If you guilt, you repent not exalt.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

In the south China sea, it is China's sea, claimed by China and discovered by China.

Well, you're right about one thing there, it is claimed by China. Considering it was actually named by Europeans and bordered by nine other countries, saying China discovered it is complete BS.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

South China Sea discovered by China!!

Sounds like something Mao’s little red book would say and Mao’s little men would parrot.

Building artificial islands doesn’t give you right over the whole South China Sea.

There is a lot of dissatisfaction in China over the government spending money overseas but not doing enough in China. Revolution is coming and the communist party is scared out of their wits.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There is a lot of dissatisfaction in China over the government spending money overseas but not doing enough in China. Revolution is coming and the communist party is scared out of their wits.

I hope so.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

China has been up to stealing technology again.

https://www.ibtimes.com/hackers-target-airbus-suppliers-quest-commercial-secrets-2833721

China is a threat to everyone outside the mainland as long as they don't have a sense of fair play.

Someone from China saw something 5000 yrs ago, but ignored it. It is still mine. That's the Chinese way. How long until they claim the Sun, Moon and Mars are theirs too? Of course, they will produce some old document which claims it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites