Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Japan is hoping it will also be a good way to confront China. Reuters:
The United States, believing its Asian allies – and Japan in particular – must help contain growing Chinese military power, has pushed Japan to abandon its decades-old bare-bones home island defense in favor of exerting its military power in Asia.Tokyo is responding by stringing a line of anti-ship, anti-aircraft missile batteries along 200 islands in the East China Sea stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) from the country’s mainland toward Taiwan.Interviews with a dozen military planners and government policymakers reveal that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s broader goal to beef up the military has evolved to include a strategy to dominate the sea and air surrounding the remote islands.
PM Abe likely believes he has had success thus far standing up to China. Remilitarization, building relationships with other Asian powers, and not shying away from tough rhetoric seems to be a winning strategy, as tensions with China have cooled a bit. Abe figures that’s because Beijing has started to give Tokyo more respect, so it’s not surprising that he apparently plans to double down on his strategy. The question is how China will respond, and whether its seemingly tamer attitude is here to say.