Senkaku. Until recently, one might be forgiven for thinking Senkaku was a polite acknowledgement of a sneeze. Today, the conflict of between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands is nothing to sneeze at. This and other maritime conflicts in the region are covered in another chapter. Here we delve a bit into how seriously one of China’s most important neighbors and trading partners, Japan, is taking China’s growing economic, political, and military confidence.
In the Spring of 2012, Japan’s Ministry of Defense issued a White Paper report. This publicly released document is chock full of graphics, statistics, and statements. There is one word, particularly in the summary, that stands out for its frequent usage: China. On its graphs and charts and in the content of the paragraphs, Japan’s increasing alarm about its relationship with China is evident. Under no uncertain terms, it describes what Japan considers a multitude of transgressions through its territorial waters and what it, Japan, might well be prepared to do in the event of what it considers China’s increased provocative actions.
In the following few pages, we’ll look at some of the details of this fascinating report. Suffice it to say, the overall impression is that events in the Asian Pacific could rapidly escalate tensions in the region and the United States might quickly be drawn into a major military confrontation.