The Japanese cabinet on Tuesday released a defense white paper for 2015 and in the slimmest such document in 10 years, a large portion was used to describe "China' s military threat."
However, the real intention of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration to hype up the so-called "China threat" is obviously to use it as an excuse to rationalize the fundamental shift of its own security policy and the steamrolling of controversial security bills through the lower house of parliament recently.
In the opening of the 400-plus page document, Japan describes the security environment surrounding the country as having become increasingly severe, highlighting China's supposed military build- up, and activities by China in the East China Sea and South China Sea.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has stated earlier this month when partial contents of the paper were disclosed that "China's relevant activities are in waters within China's jurisdiction beyond any dispute. The protests by Japan are groundless, and China does not accept the unreasonable request of Japan."
Regarding the expansion of China's defense budget, which Japan said is 41 times higher than fiscal 1989, Hua has responded clearly: "It is consistent with China's robust economic development."
China has always insisted on peace and international cooperation in the defense arena and the Abe administration also knows that China's development will not pose a threat to Japan. However, it repeatedly plays up the so-called "China threat," the main goal of which is to distract people's attention away from an increasingly aggressive Japan.
The trick is not new. Such claims have been recurrent in Japan' s defense white papers for more than 20 years, and especially since Abe first became prime minister in 2006.
After the forced Lower House passage of the controversial security bills, the approval rate of Abe's government has plummeted to 37 percent, the lowest level since he took office again in late 2012. Recent poll results also showed that the majority of people in Japan oppose the bills, which will allow Japan's Self Defense Forces to fight abroad even if Japan itself is not under attack.
To continue to deceive the public, the Abe government choose to continuously play up the "China threat," while the country itself is being led down a more dangerous path toward militarization.
Japan's defense minister Gen Nakatani wrote in the preface of this year's white paper that Japan cannot stop thinking about its security policy as its surrounding security situation is changing rapidly. Ironically, taking the contents of Japan's defense white paper and the Abe government's cold war mentality into account, Japan indeed has not moved with the times in its security policy, which poses great dangers to both the country and the world.