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War Plans Set Tokyo at Odds with China

Japan's Asahi Shimbun revealed on Tuesday that the country's Ground Self-Defence Force's (SDF) security plan maps out military strategies based on two hypothetical ways China could attack Japan.
In the first scenario, if tensions between Beijing and Tokyo heighten over natural resources near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, China may send troops to the islands to secure its interests.

The SDF would therefore respond by sending troops from Kyushu to the main island of Okinawa Prefecture or other southern islands to wipe out the Chinese forces and take back the islands, according to the plan.

The second eventuality is based on tempers flaring across the Taiwan Straits after Taipei declares "independence." The mainland may attack Japan to thwart United States forces positioned in Japan that would be poised to intervene.

The SDF would dispatch core troops to the islands south of Okinawa's main island and prepare to send specially- trained forces to protect SDF and US bases.

Though the plan noted the possibility of a military attack from China is "small," an official from Japan's Defence Agency argued Tokyo and the SDF must envisage the worst possible scenarios.

Such reasoning is based on a vivid imagination, is provocative and explicitly reveals Tokyo's Cold War mentality - leading to the spread of distrust.

Some Japanese government officials have even pointed out that the plan was playing up the threat from China to maintain the SDF's status as a special organization.

The Japanese Government's attempt to dodge international criticism over its own military upgrades by deliberately exaggerating the so-called threats posed by neighboring countries cannot conceal its long-held military ambitions.

In essence, the concept enshrined in the plan is an attempt by Japan to domestically legalize their claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and territory in the East China Sea, and intervene in the settlement of the Taiwan question.

Japan's ownership claim simply does not hold water. There is overwhelming evidence to indicate the Diaoyu Islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times.

As for the wrangling between the Asian powers over energy and territory in the East China Sea, China's oil and gas explorations in the area are being carried out in China's indisputable coastal waters. They are within the scope of China's sovereignty.

Japan's defence plan is nothing less than an affront to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity - particularly concerning the Taiwan question.

Taiwan's separatists have made unremitting efforts to establish ties with Japan's new generation of politicians, particularly those in congress.

The island's "independence trumpeter" enjoys a high degree of popularity among a number of Japanese rightist forces.

Claiming that US-Japan defence should include Taiwan in its scope, they even propose Japan should upgrade its substantial ties with the island whatever attitude the Chinese mainland holds.

Japan's attempt to intervene in the Taiwan Straits not only casts a shadow over Sino-Japanese relations but risks torpedoing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Assuming China is a foe rather than regional partner will only further undermine bilateral ties, which have already been poisoned by high-profile Japanese officials' repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.

Instead of undertaking fence-mending efforts, Tokyo is wrongly bent on pursuing measures in the opposite direction.

(China Daily September 30, 2005)


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