Japan Explores War Scenarios with China
Image Credit: Wikicommons

Japan Explores War Scenarios with China


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.

The second scenario, meanwhile, expands on a Senkaku contingency and looks at a widening war involving PLA attempts to seize the Ishigaki and Miyako Islands west of northern Taiwan.

The third, and perhaps most controversial, scenario focuses on how Japan would react to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2021, a date reportedly chosen because it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to the scenario, the PLA would rely mostly on amphibious vehicles, special forces, ballistic missiles, and a fighter blockade to achieve its ends.

Although the latter scenario makes it clear that the hostilities would primarily involve the PLA and Taiwanese military forces, it nevertheless raises the possibility that China would attack U.S. and Japanese bases on Okinawa, while using long-range ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21D and DF-31, to threaten aircraft carriers in the region and the Western United States should U.S. forces attempt to intervene in the conflict.

Interestingly, Japan would have a responsibility to come to Taiwan’s aid in the event the PLA engages Taiwanese forces, the Japanese-language Sankei Shimbun said in its reporting on the scenarios on Jan. 1.

There has been much speculation over the years about whether Tokyo would intervene if the PLA ever invaded Taiwan. Reports in 2007 alleged that Japanese and U.S. officials, alarmed by growing Chinese might, were considering a plan to coordinate their actions under such a contingency, with Japan providing rear-area support for U.S. forces as stipulated under the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. It is no coincidence that the efforts in 2007 also occurred when Abe, who is regarded as pro-Taiwan, was in power.

The two countries late last year also agreed to negotiate possible changes to the bilateral guidelines to better reflect changes in the strategic situation as well as give Japanese forces more room to maneuver.

While the scenarios remain in the realm of speculation, Japan’s inclusion of a Taiwan contingency again underscores the importance Tokyo places on Taiwan remaining de-facto independent. Certainly, China’s assertiveness in 2012 in both the East China and the South China Sea has done little to reassure Tokyo that it could live comfortably with a CCP-controlled Taiwan so close to its waters and territory. As such, rather than being amenable to “abandoning” Taiwan, as a handful of U.S. academics have been arguing for the sake of “improved” ties with Beijing, Tokyo may become more inclined to ensure that the island continues to serve as a natural barrier to Chinese expansion.

According to Japanese sources, the largely symbolic 100 billion yen increase in defense spending announced on Jan. 8 will serve to fund research into a new radar system and to cover fuel and other maintenance costs for early-warning aircraft. But this is only the first step, and there could be many more to come. The defense budget for FY2012 ending in March was just 4.69 trillion yen (US$61 billion), or a little more than 1 percent of GDP, leaving ample room for expansion should Japan’s strategic environment continue to deteriorate in the weeks ahead. 

Brother Blunt
April 28, 2013 at 00:49

To what ever sad commical effect, its actually shamefully plausible and disturbing at the same time that many may harbour such incisive yet latent mentality

March 26, 2013 at 16:55

Sir, you need some basic history knowledge about the disputed island before you talk about respecting the international law. Of course you are not even in that level, so just refresh your mind by asking yourself why in the summer of 2012 the previous Japanese Prime Minister kept wiping his forehead when he was attending a meeting with reporters after China reacted to the purchase of the island by Japan government. He was the only one sweating during the meeting not because he was sick or the air conditioning system broke. It was because He and the Japan government made a wrong move without being thoughtful enough to handle the previous Tokyo Mayor's clown show of purchasing the disputed island. Did you read the comments: (Japan is a bug keep searching a windshield)?

March 26, 2013 at 16:20

Please ask the previous United States President Bush and Vice president Cheney to respect the interantional law first before you gentlemen pick on China.

Major Lowen Gil Marquez, Philippine Army
March 20, 2013 at 21:47

The best solution for all of the conflict specially when it is tackled of the sovereign territory, the best solution is respect and acceptance on the side of the communist Chinese that they should respect the sovereighn rights of every nation and respect the International Law, if the dictatorial chinese communist china will not do that then it will; lead to a War in the future…

Hatred Alert
February 27, 2013 at 17:07

This Teng is suspicious obviously. He is possibly a Japanese who lives in Japan. (May be in Tokyo area)

Think about Japan has a history of frequent torture killing Korean immigrants in early 20th centuries.

He is intentionally spreading hatred of Taiwanese among Japanese and probably inducing mass killing of Taiwanese in Japan.

Beware Guys
February 27, 2013 at 16:34

Be ware guys.

This Teng may be a fake Taiwanese or fake Chinese.

Just use common sense.

The way he blogs is like stiring up hatread between Japanese and Taiwanese (or Chinese).

My bet is this guy is more than likely a Japanese who think he is smart enough to stir things up.

Deng Z
February 22, 2013 at 23:59

The Chinese will kindly sell opium to Britain and force her ports open with nuclear weapons. The Chinese will then force a collapse of Britain and annex London and the surroundings. The Chinese will then develop it while the rest of Britain rots and fragments into chaos. Chinese owned London will then be developed with no consideration for the welfare of the people with people living in houses no more than 8m wide in total. In the meantime the Chinese will use low tax rates and lure companies over to exploit the unprotected London workers. The Brits will then thank the Chinese 100 years later for helping to develop London.

February 22, 2013 at 23:55

I think no worries. We in Taiwan have been supplying China with American and Japanese intel and technology. When the time comes, suddenly Japan may find that the Republic of China will finally seek revenge for the Rape of Nanking.

We already have many Taiwanese in Japan waiting to strike.

February 12, 2013 at 09:46

I am also from Taiwan. China, Japan and United States also never consider Taiwan or Taiwanese have any right or right of speech regarding this island conflict though the island is at Taiwan's door step. Do you have some kind of national self respect or terittory awareness? Taiwan is like an orphaned baby being left at a bus stop or train station. There is no seat for this baby. Where is the position or seat for Taiwan in the stage of international politics? The answer is none. A cruel fact.

February 12, 2013 at 09:18

Due to mismanagement and inflated arrogance, the big Japanese corporations such as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, ……………….etc.are on their way to bankrupt without any staging of boycott.

February 12, 2013 at 09:05

Wake up from your dream. The China, Japan and United States governments never consider Taiwan has any right or right of speech at this island territory dispute matter. Taiwan is like an orphaned baby being left at the bus stop or train station. Bus come and go but there is no seat for Taiwan. Where is your position or seat at the stage of international politics? The answer is none. You don't even know this cruel fact?

Cool Eye
February 11, 2013 at 10:52

Are you from U.K.?

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