- The Japanese government announced the 2020 version of the "Defense White Paper" on Tuesday, emphasizing the national defense priorities of the Japanese Abe Cabinet.
- This white paper highlights the threats from China and North Korea faced by Japan as it strives to further improve its defense capabilities.
- The Japanese defense white paper also accuses China of using propaganda methods related to the spread of the new coronavirus to spread false information.
The Japanese government said that China is working harder to push forward territorial claims in the waters of the region, and even using the new coronavirus epidemic to expand its influence and occupy strategic advantages, posing a greater threat to Japan and the region.
The Japanese government announced the 2020 version of the “Defense White Paper” on Tuesday, emphasizing the national defense priorities of the Abe Cabinet.
A day ago, the Trump administration made it clear that Beijing’s claims on offshore resources in most areas of the South China Sea are “completely unlawful,” and the “bullying” activities carried out by Beijing in order to control these resources are also completely illegal.
This white paper highlights the threats from China and North Korea faced by Japan as it strives to further improve its defense capabilities. During the Abe government, Japan has been steadily increasing its defense budget and capabilities and purchasing expensive US arms. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono recently canceled plans to deploy two expensive US ground-based missile interception systems for technical reasons.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Abe quickly announced his intention to revise Japan’s defense guidelines, possibly allowing Japan to surpass its traditional defensive role under the Japan-US security alliance, including discussing the possibility of obtaining preemptive strike capabilities.
The Japanese defense white paper also accuses China of using propaganda methods related to the spread of the new coronavirus to spread false information:
“The new coronavirus epidemic may reveal and intensify strategic competition among countries, and these countries intend to establish a more favorable international and regional order and expand their own influence.”
The white paper says that China “stubbornly” promotes “changing the status quo” in Asian waters, including sending 3,000-ton government ships into Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands controlled by the disputed East China Sea. Beijing also claims sovereignty over the Senge Islands, and its name is called “Diaoyu Island.”
The white paper says that China has even more aggressively promoted its unilateral sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and expanded its activities to farther seas, causing widespread concern in the international community.
The white paper says that Beijing has increased its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, and unilaterally announced the establishment of two administrative regions under Xisha and Nansha in the South China Sea. This is forcing countries distracted by the outbreak to react. The white paper says that this “directly affects peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said at a press conference on Tuesday, “as China now shows off its capabilities and attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in many places, we must grasp China’s intentions closely.”
However, Beijing insists that its intention to pass through the South China Sea, with approximately $3 trillion in trade volume per year, is peaceful. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian answered with regard to Japan’s 2020 version of the “Defense White Paper.”
He said that this white paper was filled with prejudice and false information against China, and tried its best to incite the so-called “China threat.” Zhao said “China has always firmly maintained its sovereignty, security and development interests. All attack or discredit on China are futile.”
Zhao also said that the “white paper” was really “black material.” He said it exposed the dark psychology of some Japanese forces. China has already made solemn representations to Japan, Zhao added.
The white paper also mentions North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and other weapons projects, saying that North Korea is “relentlessly pursuing more complex and diversified attack methods and is steadily strengthening and improving its attack capabilities.”
The white paper says that from 2019 since May, North Korea has launched three new short-range ballistic missiles with solid fuel. It has the characteristics of low-altitude flight and can break through Japan’s missile defense system. Therefore, this is Japan’s “new issue” to deal with North Korea.