Japan sounded the alarm over greater military cooperation between Russia and China in a defense white paper that warned that an isolated Moscow could draw closer to Beijing in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
The white paper, which was approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet on Friday, was released as the Defense Ministry prepared to ask for more money to deal with threats posed by China, Russia and North Korea.
“For Russia, which is internationally isolated and has suffered ground force losses, the importance of political and military cooperation with China may increase,” the white paper said. He also stressed the need to “monitor with concern” the activities of the Russian armed forces.
China and Russia have conducted joint nuclear bomber exercises over the Sea of Japan every year since 2019. Japan was particularly alarmed in May when strategic bombers from both countries carried out an “unacceptable” exercise as the US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo to attend a Quad. Mountain peak.
The white paper was released as the government prepares for a review of the country’s national security strategy.
After a landslide election victory this month, the ruling coalition, along with two like-minded parties, have enough seats in both houses of parliament to begin the process of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party has urged Japan to increase its defense budget in line with NATO’s pledge to spend 2% of its gross domestic product and consider first-strike capabilities against enemy bases. For the past 50 years, Japan has capped defense spending at around 1% of GDP.
The white paper noted that Japan’s security budget as a percentage of GDP was also lower than other G7 countries as well as Australia and South Korea.
Kishida is expected to face stiff resistance from his party’s fiscal hawks and coalition partner Komeito to drastically increase defense spending. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised fears that China might launch an attack on Taiwan, prompting a cautious shift in public opinion in favor of more military spending.
In a chapter on Taiwan, the white paper highlighted China’s growing assertiveness and the growing gap in military capabilities between Beijing and Taipei.
“The possibility of an increase in military tensions between China and Taiwan cannot be denied,” he said. “Stabilising the situation around Taiwan is important for Japan’s security and the stability of the international community.”
In last year’s white paper, Japan broke with years of precedent and directly tied Taiwan’s security to its own with an explicit reference to the need for a greater “sense of crisis.”