A new draft of Japan’s national security strategy calls for an expansion of the country’s military power in reaction to China’s military rise and growing territorial claims.
Specifically countering China’s military rise is near the heart of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for increased military spending, “with a firm commitment to defend the people’s lives and possessions,” he said in a Wednesday meeting with Japanese defense officials over the new strategy.
China quickly called the move by the Abe government unreasonable.
“Japan’s unreasonable criticism of China’s normal maritime and air activities and hyping up of a China threat have hidden political motives,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei in state run media.
“We urge Japan to pay attention to Asian neighbors’ security concerns, comply with the historical trend, follow the path of peaceful development, and make due efforts to improve relations between the two countries and maintain regional stability.”
The draft calls for the use of unmanned surveillance aircraft to increasingly patrol Japanese southwestern territory and standing up an amphibious force on Okinawa.
Japan and China are embroiled in a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Island. In November, China established an air defense identification zone over the islands to U.S. and Japanese protest.
The announcement of the new strategy follows Japan’s 2013 increase in military spending.
The 2013 white paper — “Defense of Japan” — states the “security environment in the vicinity of Japan has increasingly grown severe,” and requires an increase in military spending to match regional rivals.
Last year’s uptick in military spending in part came from estimation from the Japanese MoD that the Pentagon’s budget woes would prevent the U.S. from fully realizing the so-called rebalance to the Pacific move currently
The MoD rationalized America’s, “harsh financial situation will impact efforts to translate these policies into reality attracts attention.
Japan’s 2013 military buys focused on expanding its military capability through buys of early warning aircraft, amphibious assault vehicles, developing a new class of guided missile destroyers and acquiring F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.