After Japan activated its first marine unit since the Second World War to counter outsiders occupying its islands along the flank of the East China Sea that its authorities fear could be threatened by China, an op-ed in China's Global Times website expressed concern over the Japanese plan.
Titled 'Asia needs to be wary of militarism revival in Japan', the op-ed said after the end of World War II in 1945, a clause was inserted into Japan's constitution barring maintenance of armed forces that could wage a war. It said Tokyo's "efforts to strengthen its military defence capabilities" were at odds with the constitution. It also raised the possibility of Japan using the necessity to protect its sovereignty as an excuse to promote militarism which it had abandoned. It said other countries in the region "must stay on high alert".
Japan said defending its islands became a "critical mandate" in its increasingly difficult defence and security situation.
China media blasts Shinzo Abe govt
The op-ed took a dig at the Shinzo Abe government of Japan for promoting militarism. "Such concerns are well-founded as militarism is seeing an upward trend in Japan. Reports of Abe's alleged connections with a nationalist kindergarten where children are educated with a prewar style of militarism refuse to go away. Last year, Japan's education ministry approved the introduction of "jukendo," or the "way of the bayonet," in physical exercise classes for junior high schools. By far, the Japanese government is still reluctant to sincerely apologize for war crimes, and its efforts in whitewashing the country's wartime past are known to all," the Global Times which is run under the auspices of the People's Daily said.
It said Abe did not care for the opposition's objection and "rammed through" the security bills to give a legality to lift the post-war ban on collective self-defence and the ability to mobilise Japanese troops in wars wherever its allies are under attack. It said this move by Japan has made Asia's countries anxious.
"China has paid for Japan's military aggression in past"
The op-ed then raised China's concern with Japan's rising militarism, saying the former has suffered a great deal from Tokyo's military aggression in the past and added that even though China's relation with Japan has seen improvement in recent years, Beijing should view its maritime neighbour's latest tendencies with more alarm. It said China must act to counter the right-wing forces from manipulating, among other things, territorial disputes and cause harm to Beijing-Tokyo relations.
The op-ed concluded by advising Japan to adjust its mentality and see China's "peaceful rise" more as an opportunity and not a threat and share the riches with its big neighbour.
Japan perceives threat to its sovereignty owing to the presence of China and North Korea in its vicinity and the retreat of the United States under Donald Trump from being as charitable as it was towards its allies in the past has made Washington's allies in the Far East like Japan and South Korea more concerned about their own security.