Japan has warned of a growing military threat from Russia and growing Chinese pressure on Taiwan. In particular, there is a risk that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will send the message that an attempt to “unilaterally change the status quo by force is acceptable,” according to the Japanese Defense Ministry’s annual white paper published on Friday.
An entire chapter of the report, which analyzes the global security situation and specific threats to Japan, is devoted to the Ukraine war. Russia can also increasingly rely on deterrence through its nuclear weapons, it says.
For Japan, this could mean increased Russian military activity around the island nation. Russian nuclear submarines are already regularly active in waters near Japan. There is also concern that Russia “further expands and deepens” its relations with China.
The communist-ruled China is described in the report as a “major security risk,” and the threat posed by Beijing has “intensified in recent years.” This year’s report also goes into more detail than ever about the situation in Taiwan.
“Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has been working to further strengthen its self-defense capabilities,” it said. North Korea also poses a “serious and imminent danger” that is also increasing.
Japan, which supports EU and US sanctions against Russia, has been confronted with increased military activity by Russia and China in front of its own borders for months. In May, Chinese and Russian military jets conducted joint maneuvers near Japanese airspace shortly after the Japan-Australia-India-US quad group met in Tokyo.
Japan is likely to significantly increase its defense spending in the near future. The amount that the Japanese government spends on its defense has been growing for years. In relation to economic output, however, the country still uses the lowest proportion of all G7 countries for military purposes.