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Japan to place more emphasis on Navy and Air Force as it reorients Defence towards China

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China’s rise as an economic and military power is causing unease amongst most of the world powers particularly its neighbours in Asia.China’s Communist leadership makes it less amenable to negotiations than other democratic setups leading to a higher probability of a future war.China has an uneasy relationship with almost all of its neighbours except the ones with dictatorship or army regimes.India and China’s relations have become more tense than usual with numerous infringements made by China recently.China has ratcheted up tensions in the South China Sea as well where it has numerous border tensions with neighbours like Vietnam.

Japan and China has suffered from perhaps the most tense relationships with the Japanese occupation of Chinese territory during World War 2.China recently embargoed the export of crucial rare earth minerals in which it has a virtual monopoly causing great distress amongst Japanese administrators.China’s military has started to become more and more sophisticated with China even now becoming an arms exporter of low tech weapons.With growth in Chinese economy,the technology sophistication of Chinese weapons systems has also grown.Close relations between China and Russia have also led to sale of front-line weapons systems such as the Sukhoi 35 fighters to China.It is no wonder that Japan is started to reorient its Defence towards China from Russia.Greater emphasis is being placed on the Air Force and Navy rather than on the Army.Note Japan is protected by the US Nuclear Umbrella and has US Forces stationed on its soil.However,declining USA military power (bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan) has made Japan beef up its own defences.Note India too has strengthened its border forces with China stationing new fighter squadrons in the Himalayan region.

Japan to shift military towards China threat – FT

Defence policy guidelines set to be unveiled by Tokyo this month are likely to contain bad news for Japanese tank commanders – and an even less welcome message for policymakers in neighbouring China.

Officials and analysts say the keenly awaited National Defence Policy Guidelines will signal a historic refocusing of Japan’s army and other forces toward securing islands in the southern Nansei chain that are seen as threatened by China’s rapidly growing military power.


Abhishek Shah

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