On July 13, Japan released its defense white paper for 2021. The biggest focus of attention was the first mention of Taiwan in the white paper, which also continued to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of frequent provocations in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands. The cover of this year’s white paper is a samurai on a horse, a stark contrast to last year’s picture of Mount Fuji’s cherry blossoms, which is quite intriguing.
As the Chinese Communist Party continues to increase its military provocations in the Taiwan Strait, there is more discussion about whether the United States should change its previous vague strategy.
If the Chinese Communist Party really breaks through the first island chain, it cannot be satisfied with just occupying Taiwan. Both the Philippines and Japan’s Ryukyu Islands are part of the first island chain. If the CCP wants to compete with the United States for the Pacific Ocean, it will inevitably have to expand north and south as well. What the Chinese Communist Party is really concerned about is not at all the Diaoyu Islands, which have little value. The frequent presence of CCP maritime police ships in the Diaoyu Islands demonstrates the next step of expansion intentions.
As the situation in the Taiwan Strait continues to rise, Japan’s concerns have finally reached a critical point and it has been forced to abandon its long-held low profile and publicly express its intention to defend Taiwan. Japan’s attitude should have been approved by the U.S. in advance, and no one should be naive enough to think that after the Chinese Communist Party seized Taiwan, it would still be a struggle for hegemony to continue to watch the U.S. military keep reinforcing its bases in Japan and the Philippines.
By replacing the cover picture of the defense white paper with a samurai, Japan is actually signaling an attitude that it has to start preparing for a full-scale war and no longer seems to expect that the CCP might give up the fight for hegemony. However, although the samurai in the picture is on horseback and ready for war, he has neither a spear nor a sword in his hand, and he is not carrying a bow and arrow. An unarmed samurai represents Japan’s serious attitude of preparation for defense, but not of seeking war.
Even with its reservations, Japan quickly completed a strategic shift against the CCP in 2021. In the past, Japan was not only careful on the Taiwan issue, but also tried to keep a low profile towards the Chinese Communist regime, trying to avoid words and actions that might stimulate a deterioration in relations. Outsiders believe that Japan is worried about losing the Chinese market, but in reality Japan should be more in avoiding confrontation with the CCP.
The fact that the Japanese military can only defend itself and cannot go abroad to engage in military conflicts undoubtedly puts the Japanese self-defense forces at a distinct tactical disadvantage. Although Japanese nationals’ dislike for the CCP continues to grow, the desperate attempt to avoid confrontation and conflict has been the mainstream of Japanese politics and public opinion.
The CCP’s concealment of the outbreak in 2020 should have completely changed Japan’s attitude. Although the Japanese government does not trust the CCP regime, it should not have expected the CCP leaders to really try to use the epidemic for hegemony. Before the CCP admitted the human-to-human transmission of Wuhan pneumonia, the first case from China was reported in Japan on January 16; after Wuhan was closed on January 23, Japan reported a second case on January 24. Japan, like most Western countries, believed to a considerable extent the information spread by the Chinese Communist Party manipulating the WHO and slowed down its epidemic prevention efforts by several beats. Of course, after the CCP announced the closure of Wuhan, the prevention of the epidemic was late in practically all countries.
In April 2020, while the U.S. aircraft carrier Roosevelt was evacuating Guam, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning suddenly crossed the Miyako Strait and entered the Pacific Ocean. The Chinese Communist Party’s posture for hegemony was seen by Trump and also by Japan.
The white paper counted that from April to August 2020, CCP maritime police vessels were present near the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands) for 111 consecutive days; for all of 2020, 1,161 CCP maritime police vessels were present for 333 days, again a record high. The Japanese are not unwise, and the CCP’s provocations shatter the illusion of peace and friendship between China and Japan. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are gradually appearing in all corners of the Indo-Pacific in conjunction with the U.S. military. Japan is well aware of the dangers of military expansion, and the former Japanese militarism has caused great disasters to all countries and Japan.
After the new U.S. administration came to power, it did not change its military oppression strategy against the Chinese Communist Party, but the top echelon of the Chinese Communist Party seriously misjudged and openly sent signals to the U.S. for hegemony, and the situation in the Taiwan Strait continued to rise. Japan eventually made a fundamental change, deepening its cooperation with the U.S. across the board and gradually excluding the CCP. after the 2020 epidemic, the Japanese government took the lead in funding the withdrawal of Japanese companies from mainland China.
Now, Japan has signaled its readiness for war, and whether the samurai on the defense white paper are soon armed depends on whether the CCP wants to provoke another Sino-Japanese war. The Chinese Communist Party leaders are not unaware of the power. The Chinese Ministry of Defense has remained silent, but has taken a stand against it through the State Taiwan Office. If the Chinese Communist Party goes to war, it will face not only Japan, the United States, NATO countries’ naval Indo-Pacific cruise all have a common terminus – Japan.
During the war against Japan, the CCP faked resistance to Japan and real development; after the victory of the war, the CCP seized the northeast and obtained from the former Soviet Union a large amount of weapons and equipment left behind by the Japanese Kwantung Army, which gave it the real capital for the civil war. After the CCP seized power, Mao repeatedly thanked Japan for saving the CCP’s life and making it bigger by invading China.
The CCP gave up war reparations in exchange for recognition by the Japanese government; subsequent CCP leaders desperately tried to acquire Japanese funds and technology, while stirring up anti-Japanese sentiment from time to time according to political needs. Now that the CCP is no longer hiding its ambition to expand, but forcing Japan to end its era of patience, a new East Asian landscape may soon emerge that the CCP can no longer control.