Japan Is Flexing Its Military Muscle to Counter a Rising China

After years of watching its international influence eroded by a slow-motion economic decline, the pacifist nation of Japan is trying to raise its profile in a new way, offering military aid for the first time in decades and displaying its own armed forces in an effort to build regional alliances and shore up other countries’ defenses to counter a rising China. Already this year, Japan crossed a little-noted threshold by providing its first military aid abroad since end of World War II, approving a $2 million package for its military engineers to train troops in Cambodia and East Timor in disaster relief and skills like road building. Japanese warships have not only conducted joint exercises with a growing number of military forces in the Pacific and Asia, they have also begun making regular port visits to countries long fearful of resurgence of Japan’s military. And after stepping up civilian aid programs to train and equip the coast guards of other nations, Japanese defense officials and analysts say, Japan could soon reach another milestone: beginning sales in the region of military hardware like seaplanes, perhaps eventually stealthy diesel-powered submarines considered well suited to shallow waters where China is making increasingly assertive territorial claims. Taken together those steps, while modest, represent a significant shift for Japan, which had resisted repeated calls from the United States to become a true regional power for fear that doing so would move it too far from its postwar pacifism. Country’s quiet resolve to edge past that reluctance and become more of a player comes as the United States and China are staking their own claims to power in Asia, and as jitters over China’s ambitions appear to be softening bitterness toward Japan among some Southeast Asian countries trampled last century in its quest for colonial domination. Driver for Japan’s shifting national security strategy is its tense dispute with China over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that is feeding Japanese anxiety that the country’s relative decline, and the financial struggles of its traditional protector, the United States, are leaving Japan increasingly vulnerable. “During the cold war, all Japan had to do was follow U.S.,” said Keiro Kitagami, a special adviser on security issues to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. “With China, it’s different. Japan has to take a stand on its own.” Japan’s moves do not mean it might transform its military, which serves a purely defensive role, into an offensive force anytime soon. The public has resisted past efforts by some politicians to revamp Japan’s pacifist constitution, and the nation’s vast debt will limit how much military aid it can extend. But it is also clear that attitudes in Japan are evolving as China continues its double-digit annual growth in military spending and asserts that it should be in charge of the islands that Japan claims, as well as vast swaths of the South China Sea that various Southeast Asian nations say are in their control (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/world/asia/japan-expands-its-regional-military-role.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to Japan Is Flexing Its Military Muscle to Counter a Rising China

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Japan’s nervousness about China’s rising and a highly indebted US is legitimate. Japan’s elite perception of the US super power position reminds Winston Churchill on the military after WWII: Gentlemen, We Have Run Out Of Money; Now We Have to Think.’ The Asia-Pacific region is already highly integrated with the Chinese economy as a dominant hub while Japan a the remaining countries as spoke. Recent Chinese boycott against Japanese companies has shown how dependent and vulnerable the Japanese economy became of China. Sooner than later, China’s economic superiority will be translated into naval superiority in the Asia Pacific. It is inevitable.


    Japanese elite have to think out of the box in this new era of fast changing reality. The US, the biggest debtor nation in the world, is no longer the sole super power in the Pacific.

    Despite Japan’s proud superiority and aggressive stance shown in the past, diplomacy is the only way out to a PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE with China in this new century.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/world/asia/japan-expands-its-regional-military-role.html

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