Tokyo ‘ready for Canberra alliance’

Shinzo Abe may be interested in radically upgrading Australia-Japan ties into a fully fledged alliance, an expert says.


Chinese troops deployed to counter North Korean border incursions: Report

The Chinese military has deployed troops near the border with North Korea to counter defections, as well as stem the number of violent incidents that have taken place there, Radio Free Asia reported.

Sources in the area said that troops from the People’s Liberation Army have been stationed in the area near the Tumen

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Japan: New Chinese Islands Don’t Settle Sea Disputes

Japan warned China on Wednesday that its extensive land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea does not make ownership “a done deal”, after Beijing announced it had almost finished its controversial island-building.


Japan’s Strategic Role in Southeast Asia: A Cause for Concern?


Japan, US need a new bargain: Jim Thomas

WASHINGTON — Japan is debating historic legislation that would allow its troops to cooperate with the U.S. military in far wider areas than has been possible in the post-war era….


South Korea test-fires missiles that can strike all of North Korea

South Korea on Wednesday successfully test-fired two domestically built ballistic missiles that can hit all of North Korea, officials said, amid continuing animosity between the rivals over the North’s push to bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities. The missiles, which had a reported range of more than 500 kilometers (300 miles), were fired from a […]

The post South Korea test-fires missiles that can strike all of North Korea appeared first on The Japan Times.


Japan ‘accepted’ Potsdam Declaration, Tokyo war crimes verdicts, says Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to questions from Goshi Hosono of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan in the Lower House special committee on June 1. (Shinichi Iizuka)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan had “accepted” the terms of the Potsdam Declaration that demanded the nation’s unconditional surrender as well as verdicts in the Tokyo war crimes trial which led to Japanese leaders being sentenced to death.


Revealed: Where Japan is Pushing Back Against China’s Rising Influence

Jenny Hayward-Jones, Philippa Brant

Security, Asia

The great power politics game between Japan and China comes to the Pacific Islands. 

Japan held its 7th meeting with Pacific Islands Leaders (PALM7) on May 22-23. All members of the Pacific Islands Forum were represented, including Australia and New Zealand. For the first time since his coup in 2006, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was invited and attended.

There was particular interest in whether Japan would expand its foreign aid to the Pacific Islands region in light of evidence of an increased Chinese presence over the last few years and the possibility that China might soon overtake Japan as the region’s third-largest donor.

At the meeting, Japan promised ¥55 billion (approximately US$450 million) to the region over next three years. Prime Minister Abe declared that Japan had fulfilled a pledge to spend more than US$500 million over the last three years (2012-14). Because of the fluctuating exchange rate, the amount of Japanese aid has in reality been fairly constant over the past decade.

The fact that Japan hasn’t dramatically increased aid to the region in the face of increased attention from China suggests Japan is not seeking to engage in explicit chequebook diplomacy with China in the Pacific Islands. Instead, Japan is trying to position itself as the partner of choice on issues of key concern to Pacific Islanders grappling with the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Importantly, Japan is focusing on issues which matter to the region and where Tokyo’s assistance can make the most difference.

Leaders agreed to seven priority areas for cooperation over the next three years: (1) disaster risk reduction; (2) climate change; (3) environment; (4) people-to-people exchanges; (5) sustainable development (including human resource development); (6) oceans, maritime issues and fisheries; and (7) trade, investment and tourism.

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Thousands surround Japan’s parliament, protest new US base plan

TOKYO: Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around Japan’s parliament in Tokyo on Sunday, protesting the planned construction of a new US airbase on the southern island of Okinawa.

The protesters, who organisers said numbered about 15,000, surrounded the parliament building holding banners reading “No to Henoko“, in the latest rally against the controversial base.

Henoko is a small coastal area on Okinawa where Tokyo and Washington plan to relocate the existing Futenma military facility, currently situated in built-up Ginowan.

“We must stop this construction,” said one of the protesters, Akemi Kitajima, 66.

“The government is trying to force the plan no matter how strongly Okinawa says ‘no’ to it.”

Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 US service personnel stationed in Japan as part of a defence alliance, a proportion many islanders say is too high.

The plan to move Futenma, first mooted in 1996, has become the focus of anger among locals, who insist it should be shuttered and a replacement built elsewhere in Japan or overseas.

But both Tokyo and Washington have repeatedly backed the plan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month insisting it was “the only solution.”

The protestors on Sunday also expressed opposition to Washington’s scheduled deployment of CV-22 Osprey aircraft at US Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft with rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, enabling it to fly like an aeroplane at greater speed than a chopper.

More than two dozen Ospreys have been already deployed at Okinawa’s Futenma airbase, prompting safety concerns from local residents.

Sunday’s rally comes a week after 35,000 people on Okinawa, led by the anti-base governor, protested the new US base plan. -AFP


China’s Lethal Bombers Fly Over Japanese Strait

Zachary Keck

Security, Asia

The Miyako Strait is the crucial gateway for China’s North and East Sea Fleets to access the wider Western Pacific.

China’s Air Force conducted its first-ever drill in a strategic strait near Japan on Thursday.

According to China’s Ministry of National Defense, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAFF) conducted its first exercise over the Miyako Strait. PLAAF spokesperson Shen Jinke said that the drill aimed to “level up the PLA Air Force’s mobility and combativeness.”

The press release on the Ministry of National Defense’s website stressed that the drill was not aimed at any country, and Shen was quoted as saying— according to the Shanghai Daily— that: “In line with international laws and practices, offshore drills by the PLA Air Force beyond the First Island Chain will proceed in consideration of actual situations.”

Although the press release did not specify which aircraft was used in the drills, the pictures revealed the pilots flew China’s new Xian H-6K bomber. The H-6K is the most advanced variant of the H-6 bomber, which is a locally built version of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16 Badger that Moscow first deployed during the 1950s. The PLAAF first received a TU-16 bomber from the Soviet Union in 1958 and has been modifying it ever since.

Chinese state-owned media have previously described the H-6K, which entered into service in 2013, as a “medium-sized craft designed for long-range attacks, stand-off attacks and large-area air patrol. Unlike its predecessor, the H-6K can carry cruise missiles under its wings. The H-6K also maneuvers more deftly than the H-6 and requires a smaller crew to operate.”

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