China Japan Trade Charges
Japan Believes Chinese Army Has More Policy Clout

The Japan 2012 defense report signals greater alarm over Chinese military capabilities

Amiel Ungar ,

They worry Japan
They worry Japan

The Japanese Defense Ministry, in its report for 2012, expressed alarm at the growing Chinese buildup and the thirtyfold escalation in defense spending in the past 24 years.

In other words, this is not a comparison of the primitive mass armies of the Mao Tse Tung era, but a comparison beginning after the real architect of China's resurgence Deng Xiaoping, had begun his modernization of the Chinese armed forces.

The Japanese are also concerned over the lack of transparency in defense spending, meaning one does not know the outlay for certain armaments and reflecting the virtual certainty that defense related expenditures are being hidden under other innocuous budgetary items.

With the leadership replacement taking place this year, Japan is worried about who willl dominate in the top echelons and it fears a growing increase in the influence of the military within the ruling elites.

Given the territorial disputes in the region, Japan is concerned also by the growing Chinese propensity to employ the Chinese Navy, which is being beefed up to carry out missions ever more distant from insurers.

The Chinese rebuttal is interesting because instead of merely denying the report as alarmist, the Chinese accuse the Japanese of creating a Chinese bogeyman as an excuse to re-militarize Japan. This remilitarization is part of an agreement with the United States to counterbalance China and this can be seen in the same Japanese defense report.

Japan says that China:

"Has started to do away with the"Basic Defense Force" approach and placed a new security strategy based on a"multifunctional, flexible, and effective defense force

In other words, the military policy that governed postwar Japan, under which Japan's forces had an exclusively defensive role, is gone. While this policy is proceeding under the wings of the Americans, the Japanese, charge the Chinese, want an independent military capability.

Li Wei, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  argues that Japan wants to become a" normal country". Given its aggression during the Second World War, Japan has no right, according to the Chinese, to become a normal country.

Asian countries say the Chinese are the ones under threat by the new Japanese ambitions and

"Are feeling increasingly worried about the rising influence of Japan's rightists on its defense policy, which has made the country stretch the limits of its constitution. Japan has also become more aggressive in its maritime territorial disputes with neighboring countries, including China."