Saturday, February 23, 2013

Japan on the Offensive

Majia: As an American citizen I don't feel I have much right to criticize the militarism of other nations. That said, I do think that Japan's LDP is escalating conflict in an alarming spiral that could get out of hand.

Japan says Abe’s quotes about China in Post interview were ‘misleading’ by C. Harlan and D. Nakamura Feb 22, 2012

[excerpted] — Japan sought Thursday to clarify comments about China that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made to The Washington Post this week, with a top government spokesman saying that quotations published by the newspaper were “misleading.”

The Post had quoted Abe as saying that China’s Communist Party had a “deeply ingrained” need to spar with Japan and other Asian neighbors over territory, because the government uses such conflicts to win strong support from citizens whose education system emphasizes patriotism and “anti-Japanese sentiment.”

..."It is rare that a country’s leader brazenly distorts facts, attacks its neighbor and instigates antagonism between regional countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. “Such behavior goes against the will of the international community. . . . We have solemnly demanded the Japanese side immediately clarify and explain

Majia here: This is the third incident of escalating rhetoric with China and Russia: 

For example, Wednesday, February 6, 2013 WSJ: Tensions Flare as Japan Says China Threatened its Forces Wall Street Journal Wed Jan 6, 2013 p. A1, A9 by Y. Hayashi, J. Page, and J. E. Barnes

[Excerpted] Japan accused China's navy of locking weapons-guiding radar onto Japanese naval forces twice in the past three weeks, an escalation of their territorial dispute that has heightened fears of a military conflict between the Asian giants....

...Most analysts say a full-blow war is highly unlikely. But one worrisome element is a lack of direct communication channels and a code of conduct between the two nations' militaries...

Majia here: Japan's economy is experiencing a downward spiral and the LDP sees military spending as one strategy for halting the spiral (Military Kenesianism)

Friday, February 15, 2013 WSJ: Japan's GDP Shrinks for Third Straight Quarter by M. Obe (14 February 2013) The Wall Street Journal, p. A14

[paraphrasing] Japan's GDP shrank at the rate of 0.4% for the third consecutive quarter, steeper than analysts expected. Japan's exports are 3.7% down. Corporate capital outlays are also down. [end]
Japanese government unveils £138bn stimulus package 

[Excerpted] It also includes a request to raise military spending by 100bn yen from the 4.6tn yen budget last year, the first such increase in a decade.
The increase is partly aimed at beefing up monitoring and defences around islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. A territorial dispute over the uninhabited islands flared into anti-Japanese riots across China last autumn after.....

Wall Street Journal. "Tokyo Shows Off its Missile Defense" Dec 8-9, 2012 p. A11 by Chester Dawson:
[Excerpted] the Japanese have spent $12 billion ... deploying the most sophisticated missile-defense system outside the US - and one poised for export to other nations....

The system was controversial when first proposed in 1993 due to its high cost and potential to antagonize neighboring states....

Today, Japan has 16 Patriot firing units... and four Aegis destroyers armed with ballistic-missile interceptors.

The next stage is potentially even more ambitious - and controversial. Japan and the US are set to begin tests of a new interceptor with vastly expanded speed and range . . . the US is pushing hard for Japan to transfer this technology to other allied countries with Aegis systems....

Japan officials, sensitive to domestic and foreign wariness about Japan emerging as a global weapons supplier, are quick to say that no formal decision has been made. But last year, Tokyo cleared the way by lifting a self imposed ban on arms shipments overseas dating from 1967....

Majia here: This escalating cycle of rhetoric and defense spending could end poorly for Japan....and for us all....

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