Japan’s annual Defense White Paper has criticized China’s expansionary maritime strategies, reflecting the escalating tensions between the two countries, Wall Street Journal reports.
The 482-page document records the Japanese government’s position on maritime defense, particularly in disputed waters in the East China Sea. Tokyo claimed that Beijing’s foreign policy has been widely influenced by the military, owing to its use of Chinese maritime vessels in contested waters. This has led to several confrontations with the Japanese Coast Guard. Defense Councilor Yasuhisa Ishizuka told reporters: “Year after year, there has been the presence of Chinese maritime surveillance and law-enforcement commands in the areas surrounding Senkaku Islands. This is intrusion into the territorial waters of our country, and attention must be paid in order to prepare for any contingencies”.
Japan’s leaders called for an expanded maritime defense against China: Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said on separate occasions that Japan could deploy its self-defense forces if maritime confrontations could not be longer handled by the Coast Guard alone. But the government also wants to put up a ‘Cold-War-style’ line to prevent escalating tensions.
The white paper also said that Japan expects Chinese expansion in the East China Sea, as well as in the South China Sea, and would be “keeping a close eye on its actions.”