2014年08月05日

Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'

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Japanese White Paper accuses China of taking 'high-handed actions'

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

04 August 2014

Japan's 2014 defence White Paper has accused China of taking "high-handed actions" over maritime rights and interests in the waters off East Asia.

"The security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, being compassed by various challenges and destabilising factors, which are becoming more tangible and acute," stated the annual White Paper, which was published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 5 August.

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On Beijing it noted: "China has adopted high-handed actions with regard to issues of conflicts of interest in the maritime domain, as exemplified by its attempts to change the status quo by coercion."

The paper said that those actions are "based on China's own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing international law and order", and "include dangerous acts that could cause unintended consequences and raise concerns over China's future direction" and which "raise security concerns for the regional and international community".

The White Paper for the first time mentioned China's intensifying flight activities along Japan's airspace boundaries, stating: "Japan is deeply concerned about the establishment of 'the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)' and noting that the flights "are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo, escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences in the East China Sea". Beijing declared its ADIZ in November 2013, bringing about protests by Japan and the United States.

The White Paper also pointed out that provocative actions by North Korea are "a serious destabilising factor to the security not only of Japan but of the entire region and the international community". It for the first time mentioned the KN-08 mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), showcased by North Korea at major military parades in Pyongyang in April 2012 and July 2013, as well as 'Scud-ER' (extended range) missiles with a range of 800-1,000 km.

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"Should North Korea have a false sense of confidence and recognition regarding its deterrence, this could lead to increases in and the escalation of military provocations by North Korea in the region and could create situations that are deeply worrying also for Japan," it stated.

As for Moscow, the White Paper noted that "Russia's changing of the status quo by coercive measures such as the annexation of Crimea into Russia is a global issue that also impacts Asia and elsewhere".

In addition to outlining perceived threats to Japanese interests, the paper also underscored various new security developments under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: the establishment of a National Security Council that is "the control tower" of the nation's security and defence; the first National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Programme Guidelines (NDPG) that introduced the concept of "a Dynamic Joint Defense Force"; a new concept emphasising the Japan Self-Defense Forces' joint operations and interoperability capability at sea, in the air and on land; the abolition of the nation's decades-old ban on weapons exports; and the reinterpretation of the constitution to allow the exercising of a right to collective self-defence.

COMMENT
The White Paper is a useful tool for analysts seeking to understand Japanese defence thinking and, along with the MoD's budget request (published every year around late August or early September), sets out Tokyo's priorities and concerns.

Defence officials briefing on the White Paper pointed out that the Chinese national defence budget, in terms of its nominal size, has grown about 40-fold over the past 26 years and almost quadrupled in size over the past 10 years. To cope with this rising power, they emphasised that Japan has also strengthened its defence capabilities, noting that Tokyo's defence expenditures have climbed for the second consecutive year under the Abe administration.

However, with government debt already at more than 230% of GDP, there is a limit to how much fiscal stimulus can be applied to the national defence budget.
posted by Kosuke at 22:13| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly

Japan to provide Vietnam with six patrol vessels

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Japan to provide Vietnam with six patrol vessels

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

03 August 2014

Japan has agreed to provide Vietnam with six second-hand vessels to enhance its maritime patrolling capability amid a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea.

The boats will be transferred before the end of the year as part of a USD500 million aid package funded by Tokyo's official development assistance (ODA) programme.

The agreement was signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Bui Quang Vinh, the Vietnamese minister of planning and investment.

"The South China Sea, which Vietnam faces, is a key junction of maritime transportation," Kishida told reporters after the meeting with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on 1 August.

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posted by Kosuke at 22:07| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly