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Japan Explores War Scenarios with China

January 8, 2013
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Source: The Diplomat

As Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party national defense task force announced on Jan. 8 that it would increase the nation’s defense budget by more than 100 billion yen ($1.15 billion), three of five scenarios explored by the defense ministry recently involve the Self-Defense Forces squaring off against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

While contingencies involving North Korea’s ballistic missiles and Russia were among the scenarios the defense ministry explored, the top three all involved a crisis in the East China Sea. The first scenario examined a war between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Earlier on Tuesday Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo for the first time since Shinzo Abe was sworn in as prime minister to protest the continued presence of official Chinese ships in waters around the islets, which are claimed by Japan, Taiwan and China.

The second scenario, meanwhile, expands on a Senkaku contingency and looks at a widening war involving PLA attempts to seize the Ishigaki and Miyako Islands west of northern Taiwan.

The third, and perhaps most controversial, scenario focuses on how Japan would react to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2021, a date reportedly chosen because it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to the scenario, the PLA would rely mostly on amphibious vehicles, special forces, ballistic missiles, and a fighter blockade to achieve its ends.

Although the latter scenario makes it clear that the hostilities would primarily involve the PLA and Taiwanese military forces, it nevertheless raises the possibility that China would attack U.S. and Japanese bases on Okinawa, while using long-range ballistic missiles, such as the DF-21D and DF-31, to threaten aircraft carriers in the region and the Western United States should U.S. forces attempt to intervene in the conflict.

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