Asia Times: Japan could carry the day in a US-China conflict
Japan’s military rise has been stealthy but strong and is increasingly concentrated on China’s perceived threat
When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last month that the Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest national crisis since World War II, it was widely overlooked that just weeks earlier his government passed by far the nation’s biggest defense budget since the end of that conflict.
The Japanese Diet, or parliament, approved a whopping US$46.3 billion defense budget on March 27, replete with earmarks for new hypersonic anti-ship missiles and helicopter carrier upgrades that will allow for the carrying of Lockheed Martin F-35B stealth fighters.
Defense-related spending in Japan has traditionally aimed chiefly to shield against neighboring North Korea’s nuclear threat. But the new ramped up spending is more clearly pointed towards an expansionist and increasingly assertive China, according to Japanese military insiders.
“It is China, not North Korea, that is the main concern,” said a Japanese official who requested anonymity.
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WNU Editor: Many are not sure that Japan is capable of facing China in a military …. Has China’s Navy Caught Up (and Surpassed) Japan? (National Interest). In the meantime, China is making its presence felt …. Two Advances for Chinese Navy after Monthlong Aircraft Carrier Voyage near Japan, Taiwan (VOA).