Japan building forces to counter China

Photo taken from a Kyodo News airplane shows Uotsuri (back), one of the five main islands in the Japanese-controlled Senkaku group, in the East China Sea on Sept. 11, 2013

by Bill Gertz

Japan is building up its military forces and strengthening alliances to counter threats from China as the country emerges from decades of isolationism following its defeat in World War II.

Japanese Vice Defense Minister Kenji Harada characterized the security situation in East Asia as increasingly “severe” and warned that tensions with China over control of Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have reached menacing proportions.

“It is extremely dangerous,” Harada said in an interview of China’s attempts to enforce an air defense zone covering the islands located west of Okinawa.

Dubbing the Japan military buildup “integrated mobile defense,” Harada said, “we have to respond to the situation seamlessly and very readily.”

Chinese ships and aircraft have stepped up intrusions into airspace and waters around the islands since the air defense zone was set up in 2013 covering the islands. Japanese F-15 warplanes have made frequent intercepts of Chinese aircraft.

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