Japanese Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, capital of Japan, July 11, 2016. Shinzo Abe held the press conference after his ruling coalition retained the majority of the parliament’s upper house in the recent election. (Xinhua file photo/Ma Ping)
by Xinhua Writer Zhu Feng
TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — Japan’s government approved a defense white paper on Tuesday, with a large portion of the document focusing on China’s normal and legal maritime activities in the East and South China Seas.
The 480-page white paper devoted 30 pages to China, preaching the so-called “China military threat,” especially China’s “military threat on the sea.”
Meanwhile, it endorsed the U.S. “Asia-Pacific Rebalance” strategy and Japan’s newly-passed security bill, which allows Japan’s Self Defense Forces to fight abroad even if Japan itself is not under attack.
This is nothing new for the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that has time and again tried to trick the Japanese public into following its rightist agenda.
The white paper, on the one hand, aims to rebuild Japan, which brutalized its Asian neighbors during World War II, as a military power under the pretext of “China threat.”
For a country which is reluctant to face up to its ignominious wartime history squarely, its attempts to beef up military power will pose a serious threat to world peace.
The Abe administration is good at meddling in the South China Sea issue under the guise of “positive pacifism,” which actually calls for “military contributions” to deliver world peace and security.
The real purpose of the document is to tarnish China’s image, contain China’s peaceful rise, and offset its growing international influence, particularly its clout in the Asia Pacific.
In fact, hyping up the South China Sea issue has an axe to grind. The Abe administration is attempting to enhance its impact on politics and security affairs in the region, with the support of the United States by collaborating with the U.S. “Pivot to Asia.”
Taking the South China Sea issue as as excuse, the Abe administration also called on other claimant countries to join hands against China. This, at the same time, is also used for relieving strategic pressure from a territorial dispute with China over the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.
Japan has an ulterior motive of seeking excuses for interference in the South China Seas issue and military expansion by deliberately adding Japanese people’s sense of crisis.
On the other hand, the white paper plays up “China threat” and stirs up tensions in the region with a view to justifying Japan’s new security bills and finally moving closer to Abe administration’s long-held goal of revising the country’s pacifist constitution.
By stoking tensions, the white paper intents to push for approval by a nationwide referendum for constitutional amendments, including scrapping of the war-renouncing Article 9, that will turn Japan’s self-defense forces into a conventional army.
The possible constitutional amendments have sounded alarm for many Japanese who have valued their country’s postwar pacifism.
Furthermore, the white paper ignores historical facts, and makes irresponsible remarks on China’s normal military growth and maritime activities.
In order to play up the “China threat,” the Abe administration often makes a fuss over China’s normal training flights over the high seas.
On the contrary, Japan has also been urged to be more transparent about its military budget as it has been increasing its defense spending for years, sparking concerns among its neighbors and the international community.
Japan has approved a record 5.05-trillion-yen (41.90-billion-U.S. dollar) military budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2017, a 1.5-percent increase from fiscal 2015. This is the fourth consecutive year that Japan has augmented its defense budget.
The Japanese government hopes the “China threat” rhetoric can help shake off its overwhelming pressure both at home and abroad, which is not a new trick.
Tokyo hypes up the so-called “China threat” and “China collapse” alternately. It highlights “China collapse” when it needs to satisfy its sense of superiority, while emphasizing “China threat” when it seeks an excuse for military expansion. In fact, the two theories are apparently contradictory as “collapse” could not pose a “threat,” and vice versa.
Abe again begins to play up “China threat” in order to press for revising of the country’s pacifist constitution, while ignoring the fact that China’s economic development benefits Japan, Asia and the whole world.
What the Japanese government has done is detrimental to regional peace and safety as well as the still vulnerable relations between China and Japan.
Only through unity and cooperation can the international society deal with global challenges and improve people’s livelihood. Abe’s beggar-thy-neighbor policy and his trouble-making behavior are already exposed the world.