|Japanese and US warships perform maneuvers at sea|
As Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party national defense task force announced on Jan. 8 that it would increase the nation’s defense budget by more than 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion), three of five scenarios explored by the defense ministry recently involve the Self-Defense Forces squaring off against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
While contingencies involving North Korea’s ballistic missiles and Russia were among the scenarios the defense ministry explored, the top three all involved a crisis in the East China Sea. The first scenario examined a war between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Earlier on Tuesday Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo for the first time since Shinzo Abe was sworn in as prime minister to protest the continued presence of official Chinese ships in waters around the islets, which are claimed by Japan, Taiwan and China.
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.