Japan is concerned about the lack of transparency in China’s defense policies and military affairs, as well as the high-level growth of its defense budget, according to the annual white paper of the Japanese Defense Ministry released on Tuesday.
“Chinese military trends, combined with insufficient transparency about China’s defense policies and military affairs, have become a matter of grave concern to the region including Japan and the international community,” the report said.
The paper has also noted the significant growth of China’s defense budget “without transparency” and the rapid improvement of its military capabilities in nuclear, missile, naval and air forces. Additionally, Japan highlighted Beijing’s efforts in ensuring superiority in such new domains, as cyber, electromagnetic spectrum, and space.
China’s military spending was estimated at 13 trillion yuan ($2 trillion), compared to Japan’s 5.1 trillion yen ($46 million), the report said.
Japan was also found to be behind in terms of military capabilities: 52 modern submarines in service in China versus 21 in Japan, 71 destroyers in China and 47 in Japan, 1,146 modern generation fighters in China and 313 in Japan.
In this light, Japan was especially concerned with Beijing’s increased presence in the East China Sea off the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu Islands.
Other challenges mentioned in the white paper included North Korean nuclear tests and aggressive military trends, which “pose grave and imminent threats to Japan’s security,” and Moscow’s deployment of modern weapons in Russia’s Far East.
“Russia is modernizing its military equipment, including strategic nuclear forces, and is gradually enhancing the deployment capability of its military forces in remote areas by securing military bases outside Russia,” the paper said, adding that Moscow has also been focused on developing hypersonic weapons and intensifying activities in space and other new domains.
The “Defense of Japan” white paper is an annual report of the Japanese Defense Ministry on the security environment around the country and its defense policies. The report was submitted to the government on Tuesday.