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Japan says it faces growing threats from China, N Korea

Japan faces increasingly serious threats to its security from an assertive China and an unpredictable North Korea, a defence ministry report said on Tuesday, as ruling politicians call for the military to beef up its ability to respond to such threats. The report, the first since hawkish Prime minister Shinzo Abe took office vowing to boost Japan’s defences, was likely to prompt a sharp response from Beijing, whose ties with Tokyo are strained by a territorial row.

China is also upset by remarks from Abe suggesting he wants to cast Tokyo’s wartime history in a less apologetic tone. ‘There are various issues and destabilising factors in the security environment surrounding Japan, some of which are becoming increasingly tangible, acute and serious,’ the annual defence white paper said.

 ‘China has attempted to change the status quo by force based on its own assertion, which is incompatible with the existing order of international law,’ the report said, echoing recent comments by Abe and his cabinet. China should accept and stick to the international norms.’ A Sino-Japanese dispute over rival claims to tiny East China Sea islets flared up last September after Japan nationalised the isles, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Japan has been gradually ratcheting up its expressions of concern about Beijing’s military expansion. Last year’s defence white paper, issued before the islands flare-up, flagged the tasks of the army’s role in shaping Chinese foreign policy.
Agencies

Agencies

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