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Japan should stop playing with fire

Publication Date : 20-06-2014


On June 11, the Japanese Ministry of Defence speculated that Chinese jet fighters drew "unusually close" to its surveillance aircraft. Japan even protested to China as if the claims were true.

In response, the Chinese Ministry of National Defence published a video that shows how two Japanese surveillance aircraft intruded into the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone, and took actions endangering a Chinese surveillance plane. Finding itself in an untenable position, Japan demanded China delete the video.

This is not the first time that Japan has played the trick of a thief crying, "Stop thief". On May 24, the Japanese government claimed that Chinese military planes approached their surveillance aircraft, but it was soon revealed that Japanese military planes intruded into the airspace of the joint military exercises being conducted by China and Russia first. On June 14, Japan claimed that a Chinese frigate "could have" directed fire-control radar at the Japanese destroyer Sawagiri on May 29, but at the same time admitted there is "no conclusive evidence".

Actually, all these incidents have been orchestrated by the Abe administration of Japan, with the purpose of putting their guilt on China.

However, Japan is rather unprofessional in fabricating such stories. It is common knowledge that most navies in the world have ships equipped with all kinds of photoelectric directors for controlling the small caliber guns and short-range missiles they carry. It was simply unnecessary for the radar to be employed if the Chinese naval vessel really intended to attack the Japanese warship at such short range. By accusing the Chinese vessel of doing so, Japan has shot itself in the foot.

Besides, the Japanese government has never revealed exactly where these claimed incidents happened. That is because they know clearly they all happened in China's near sea, or where Chinese planes and warships are on regular
patrols and training missions.

By making these false accusations, Japan is seeking to create a "China threat". By doing so, it aims to not only throw its own guilt on China for the tensions between them, it is also rallying public opinion support for the ongoing move to change Article 9 of Japan's Constitution and remove the ban on exercising collective defence rights.

An obvious fact is that these incidents, each of them with "an Abe Production" on its copyright page, come together with Abe's plan of remilitarising Japan. Meeting opposition from both home and abroad, Abe and the right wing of Japan need a story of external threat.

History tells us that Japanese militarists have always been good at blaming others for their own faults. In 1937, they started the war of aggression against China, but with the fabricated excuse of one soldier going missing during a military exercise; in 1941, they launched an attack on Pearl Harbor but told the Japanese people and the world that the US forced Japan into war. China, as the victim of these falsifications, should remain on high alert for Japan using its fabricated China threat as an excuse in case any conflict happens.

In the one-to-one debate in the Diet of Japan on June 11, Abe delivered a well-prepared speech on exercising collective defence rights. However, instead of being moved, the assembly burst into laughter when Banri Kaieda, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, said: "The Prime Minister is becoming intoxicated from his own speech."

Vox Populi, a popular column in the national newspaper Asahi Shimbun, warned Abe "to be careful with Constitution". Nor do his plans appeal to the international community. United States investor James Chanos famously said at a conference in May that Abe is the most dangerous figure in Asia.

"Don't play with fire" is a caution that Abe should heed. China is not an easy prey and the East China Sea is not a good place for Abe to try his luck. Instead it is time for the Abe administration to improve relations with China for the peace and stability of the whole region.

The author is a researcher with People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute.


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