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Game of Thrones: Japan Refuses to Back Down



China has become increasingly belligerent and North Korea increasingly threatening, the Japanese government reported in its annual defense paper today.

China has been engaged in “dangerous actions that could cause a contingency situation,” the report warns, and “has attempted to change the status quo by force based on its own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing order of international law.” China intends to “weaken the effective control of another country over the islands” and reinforce its claim on disputed territory “through various surveillance activities and use of force.” The paper also includes South Korea and Russia in a long list of Japan’s territorial disputes with the neighbors.

North Korea’s missile program, meanwhile, has entered a “new stage,” with missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, the Japan Times reports.

The threat assessments support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s desire to increase Japan’s military spending for the first time in a decade. “It is not necessarily possible to prevent invasions from outside by nonmilitary means such as diplomatic efforts,” the report says. Armed defense is “the nation’s ultimate guarantee of security.” Japan has been holding military drills with the US, but recently Washington has distanced itself from Tokyo somewhat, giving Abe yet another reason to push his country to strengthen its defenses, alone if necessary, against aggressive neighbors.

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  • Nick Bidler

    I keep coming back to the pre-WW1 analogy as shorthand for explaining East Asian politics right now.

    So far, it has proved depressingly apt.

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