Japan Record Defense Budget Aims At Curbing China Threat


Military Spending: In the face of an expansionist China seeking to dominate the East and South China Seas, Tokyo has set its largest defense budget ever to help defend islands that it rightfully considers Japanese territory.

As its military, economy and ambitions grow, so too does China’s assertiveness about control of the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the larger South China Sea. Chinese military doctrine refers to establishing dominance over what it calls the “first island chain,” which encompasses the East China Sea.

Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to two disputed chains: the Paracel Islands, about 200 miles from the coast of Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands in the southeastern part of the South China Sea.

Chinese government writings refer to the waters surrounding China as “blue soil” and the islands in these waters as Chinese territory. They include the East China Sea and the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese), over which tensions have arisen as Beijing disputes Tokyo’s legitimate claims and has engaged in a series of military provocations.

Despite the restraints of a pacifist constitution — the legacy of America’s military occupation of Japan — hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to transform Japan’s security stance with the aim of countering China’s expansionist plans since taking office in December 2012.