Japan today warned of growing threats to its security posed by the war in Ukraine and tensions between China and Taiwan, in a Japanese Defense document published as Tokyo tries to boost military spending.
The annual Defense White Paper, approved by the office of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, highlighted the need for Japan to gain public support to bolster the military budget, an objective of the current executive.
The report was published months ahead of a review of Japan’s national security strategy, which is expected to include a pre-emptive strike capability, which critics say goes beyond the limitations of the country’s pacifist constitution.
China, Russia, and North Korea lead Japan’s concerns in the 500-page report.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said in a statement that the Indo-Pacific region is “at the heart” of international strategic competition.
The report classifies Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “serious violation of international law”, which raises “concerns that the effects of such unilateral changes to the status quo, through the use of force, could spread to the region of Indo-Pacific”.
Strategic competition between states has intensified, in a period of changes in the global balance of power, and is “even more complicated by factors such as China’s broad and rapid military development”, the document reads, quoted by international agencies.
The Japanese Defense report doubled the content on Taiwan compared to last year’s edition.
The document raises concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be replicated by China against Taiwan.
And it points to growing tensions between Washington and Beijing as the United States continues to send warships into the Taiwan Strait and sell weapons to Taipei, while Chinese warplanes increasingly enter Taiwan’s airspace.
Beijing claims Taiwan as a province of China, which it threatens to forcibly annex if necessary.
Japanese officials are also concerned about China’s “relentless” unilateral attempts to change the status quo “by coercion” of the Japanese-controlled East China Sea islands, which Beijing also claims.
China aims to build a “world-class army” and is stepping up the fusion of military and civilian resources, the report said.
The document noted that Russia’s international isolation and war fatigue could increase the importance of Russian political and military cooperation with China.
He stresses that military cooperation between the two countries should be closely watched because it could have a “direct impact” on Japan’s security.
China and Russia are stepping up joint operations and exercises involving warships and military aircraft around Japan, while Beijing is threatening to use force on Taiwan, which would increase regional tensions, Nobuo Kishi said, quoted in the same briefing note.
The report comes at a time when the Kishida government is committed to strengthening Japan’s military capacity and budget, under a strategy to review the country’s basic defense guidelines.
The Liberal Democratic Party, currently in power, has called for a doubling of Japan’s military spending to 2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the equivalent of around €72 billion, over the next five years.
Source: With Agencies