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China ships near Tokyo-controlled islands in East China Sea: Japan

TOKYO--Three Chinese ships sailed through disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea on Monday, the latest such incident in a bitter territorial row between the Asian giants.

The Chinese coastguard vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters off one of the Senkakus, which China claims and calls the Diaoyus, at around 10:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) and left the area about three hours later, Japan's coastguard said.

Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the East China Sea archipelago — thought to harbor vast natural resources — after Japan nationalized some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest round in a long-running territorial dispute.

The incident comes just days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised concerns about China's territorial ambitions during talks with senior leaders including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.

Fears of conflict rose in November when China imposed an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea and said it required notification from planes crossing the area.

Washington was angered by the move, saying it could lead to confusion high in the skies.

On Friday Kerry warned Beijing against unilateral moves to set up a similar air defense zone over the South China Sea, where the Philippines in particular has voiced worries about China's maritime claims.

Earlier this month, the top U.S. diplomat had vowed that the United States would defend Japan against attack including over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

February 18, 2014    formosa1223@
A LARGELY MANUFACTURED CRISIS BY U.S.

At the end of World War II, the world understood the viciousness of Japanese militarism. Japan had left a bloody trail from Korea to China to Southeast Asia and well beyond.
Last year, Abe's efforts to tilt Japan rightward began cautiously. His previous stint as prime minister had run aground when he moved too quickly to impose his nationalist agenda. This time, he focused first on reinvigorating Japan's sclerotic economy. The strategy worked, and his approval ratings rose. He also issued shrill warnings about threats posed by a militarily modernizing China and an erratic, blustering North Korea. Only then, in recent weeks, did he and his right-wing allies train their sights on their real quarry — demolishing the last vestiges of Japan's postwar pacifism
His recent actions speak volumes: increasing defense spending for the first time in a decade; purchasing advanced weapons systems; adopting a new defense posture; meeting Chinese belligerence in the East China Sea with belligerence of his own; pushing constitutional reforms that restrict freedom of assembly and speech; creating a U.S.-style national security council; easing restrictions on Japanese overseas arms sales; and promoting "patriotic" (i.e. false and sanitized) interpretations of history in Japanese schools and textbooks.
There are signs that Abe could be overplaying his hand.

He rammed through a new secrecy law that criminalizes the leaking or reporting of national security information despite opposition by 82% of the public. He infuriated China, South Korea and other Asian nations by visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including 14 war criminals. In late December, he pressured Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima into authorizing relocation of the large U.S. Marine base from Futenma to Henoko, a pristine area in northern Okinawa. In poll after poll, Okinawans have overwhelmingly opposed this move.

President Obama has turned a blind eye to Abe's saber-rattling because Japan's militarization meshes with his own plans to contain China. Obama's Asia "pivot" has heightened tension throughout the region. Obama has pushed China's neighbors to buy more arms, conducted joint military exercises, increased U.S. troop deployments and begun rebalancing the U.S. fleet and Air Force away from Europe and the Middle East toward the Pacific. He has made it clear that the U.S. will come to Japan's aid in any military confrontation with China over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a largely manufactured crisis.
February 18, 2014    formosa1223@
After World War II Japan's new constitution renounced warfare and offensive military capabilities.
But now the prime minister is making moves to turn country into a militarized national security state.
This direction meshes with Obama's visions for containing China.
At the end of World War II, the world understood the viciousness of Japanese militarism. Japan had left a bloody trail from Korea to China to Southeast Asia and well beyond. Under the guidance of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, postwar occupation authorities drafted a constitution for Japan, which included Article 9 renouncing warfare and offensive military capabilities.
Tribunals across Asia led to thousands of war criminals being jailed and as many as 900 executed. But U.S. authorities pardoned some war prisoners, believing they would be useful to fight against communism. Among those pardoned was Nobusuke Kishi, who became prime minister. A defense pact Kishi struck with the U.S. was so unpopular, he was driven from office.
Today, Kishi's grandson, Shinzo Abe, is prime minister and is doing to Japan what Attorney General John Mitchell predicted Richard Nixon would do to the U.S. — drive the country "so far to the right you're not even going to recognize it."
Last year, Abe's efforts to tilt Japan rightward began cautiously. His previous stint as prime minister had run aground when he moved too quickly to impose his nationalist agenda. This time, he focused first on reinvigorating Japan's sclerotic economy. The strategy worked, and his approval ratings rose. He also issued shrill warnings about threats posed by a militarily modernizing China and an erratic, blustering North Korea. Only then, in recent weeks, did he and his right-wing allies train their sights on their real quarry — demolishing the last vestiges of Japan's postwar pacifism.

His recent actions speak volumes: increasing defense spending for the first time in a decade; purchasing advanced weapons systems; adopting a new defense posture; meeting Chinese belligerence in the East China Sea with belligerence of his own; pushing constitutional reforms that restrict freedom of assembly and speech; creating a U.S.-style national security council; easing restrictions on Japanese overseas arms sales; and promoting "patriotic" (i.e. false and sanitized) interpretations of history in Japanese schools and textbooks.

February 18, 2014    formosa1223@
There are signs that Abe could be overplaying his hand.

He rammed through a new secrecy law that criminalizes the leaking or reporting of national security information despite opposition by 82% of the public. He infuriated China, South Korea and other Asian nations by visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including 14 war criminals. In late December, he pressured Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima into authorizing relocation of the large U.S. Marine base from Futenma to Henoko, a pristine area in northern Okinawa. In poll after poll, Okinawans have overwhelmingly opposed this move.

Last month, the people of Nago, where Henoko district is located, voted overwhelming to re-elect Mayor Susumu Inamine, a champion of the anti-base movement.
But Abe's next, and ultimate step, will be even more controversial. He is determined to repeal Article 9 so that Japan can build a full-fledged national army and participate in military adventures alongside the U.S.

President Obama has turned a blind eye to Abe's saber-rattling because Japan's militarization meshes with his own plans to contain China. Obama's Asia "pivot" has heightened tension throughout the region. Obama has pushed China's neighbors to buy more arms, conducted joint military exercises, increased U.S. troop deployments and begun rebalancing the U.S. fleet and Air Force away from Europe and the Middle East toward the Pacific. He has made it clear that the U.S. will come to Japan's aid in any military confrontation with China over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a largely manufactured crisis.

February 18, 2014    formosa1223@
It is up to the Japanese people to halt their nation's transformation.
Stopping this right-wing juggernaut will not be easy once it gains momentum. Japan's wartime history, much like recent U.S. history, is testament to how dangerous that can be.
February 18, 2014    ludahai_twn@
Japan is responding to saber rattling from China.
February 21, 2014    legerweck@
Some people choose to recount history rather selectively, e.g., China's attempted invasions of Japan, Invasion and suppression of Tibetans, Western Provinces, the dictatorship's killing of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Tiananmen square, its blocking of Taiwan (American/Japanese etc) websites, relentless expansion of its military, pushing around of South China sea countries and the seizing of islands right off their shore, etc etc. If you like dictatorship, China might be the place for you (unless you want to express your political opinion, have more than one baby, etc). Might check with Hong Kongers first however.
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