Japan, alarmed by China’s regional activities, fortifies southwest islands and hikes defence budget

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Observers said a bulked-up military presence in Japan can deter China’s ambitions in the region.

“With a more robust defence posture, Japan can increase its deterrent, making the use of force by China less likely, and peace more likely in Asia,” Prof Lind told CNA’s Asia First on Wednesday.

China had lashed out at Japan over its defence shift, accusing Tokyo of “provoking regional tension and confrontation”.

Prof Lind said, however, that Japan’s military is already late to the game.

“The arms race in Asia has already been well underway. China has been arming itself significantly over the past few decades,” she said, adding that China has the world’s largest navy with the most number of warships.  

“Japan has decided that this is not safe for its security. So Japan, like other nations in the region, is just reacting to this astonishing transformation in the balance of power in Asia.”

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