Japan to boost deterrence capabilities against ‘rule-breaking actors’: defense minister

Japan’s defense minister pledged on Saturday to strengthen the country’s deterrence capabilities and strengthen its alliance with the United States, citing Japan’s position as a frontline opponent of “actors who flout the rules “.

Speaking to the Shangri La Dialogue In Singapore, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Japan was on the front line of a “competition” between countries upholding the rules-based order and those trying to change it by force.

“Right now, not only is Japan surrounded by actors who possess or develop nuclear weapons and ignore the rules, but also, year by year, they are becoming more and more open in their disregard for them. “, did he declare.

Kishi said Russia has stepped up its military activities in the Far East and the Pacific, while China continues its attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in the South and East China Seas.

Joint military activities between the two major military powers are of “increasing concern”, he said, stressing the need to defend the stability of the Taiwan Strait, where Beijing has increased its military presence.

Kishi noted that Japan will guarantee the necessary defense budget and accelerate defense capacity building.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has planned to increase the country’s defense spending to 2% of its gross domestic product over the next five years, according to the policy roadmap released by his administration on June 7.

“We will also further elevate the Japan-US alliance, which is a foundation for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthen its deterrence and response capabilities,” Kishi noted.

Kishi also met with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue summit, where he raised concerns that China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning is conducting military exercises near Japanese islands.

He urged China to show “restraint” in its unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea near the Japanese-held Senkaku Islands, which China claims and also calls the Diaoyu Islands.

During the meeting, Kishi reiterated that Taiwan’s security is important to Japan and the international community. The two ministers also agreed to promote defense dialogue, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The escalation of Chinese military activities in East Asia has heightened Tokyo’s concerns over the self-governing island. Taiwan, along with its Japanese-controlled neighbour, Okinawa, contains Beijing’s forces.

Eight Chinese navy ships, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, passed between the southern chain islands from Okinawa to Japan on May 2. Japan said Chinese fighter jets took off from and landed on an aircraft carrier near Okinawa more than 100 times from May 3 to 7. .

In December 2021, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned that an armed invasion of Taiwan would pose a serious threat to Japan, given that the Japanese islands Senkaku, Sakishima and Yonaguni are only 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. ) from Taiwan.

“An emergency in Taiwan is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance,” he said, adding that Japan and Taiwan must work together to protect freedom and democracy.

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Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia-Pacific news for The Epoch Times.