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Japan prepares for china attack { November 8 2004 }

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UPDATED: 10:00, November 08, 2004
Japan Defense Agency set 3 scenarios of "China attack"

Japanese Defense Agency officials established in internal meetings three scenarios of possible attacks on Japan by China as the agency prepares to revamp national defense strategy, agency sources said Sunday.

The scenarios are attacks stemming from disputes over ocean resources and territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands as well as a clash across the Taiwan Strait, they said.

While the scenarios are assumptions for discussions on Japan's future defense capability, they indicate a strong warning that China is a threat and are likely to further upset Beijing amid the ongoing political standoff over the development of gas fields in the East China Sea and the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands.

The scenarios are stipulated in the final report compiled in September by the agency's committee on defense capability. The agency has not made the report public as it will be used for further discussions on the revision of the National Defense Program Outline, they said.

The agency is planning to finish compiling by the end of November the revised defense outline, which is aimed at responding to new threats such as terrorism. The outline was first compiled in 1976 and revised in 1995.

According to the sources, the report predicts China will ''strengthen its military capability in order to demonstrate its capability to Taiwan and the United States, and will be the greatest military power in the Asia-Pacific region in the future.''

In the case of a clash between China and Taiwan, China may attack parts of Japan to prevent aid from U.S. forces in Japan, according to the scenarios.

In the second scenario, the report says China may take military action to seize the Senkakus if Chinese public criticism of the Chinese Communist Party over the territorial dispute grows strong enough to threaten its leadership.

The islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Tiaoyutais in Taiwan, are controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing and Taipei.

As for the third scenario, the report says China may conduct illegal moves to secure its interests in the East China Sea if it deems Japan did not take what Beijing believes to be appropriate measures regarding the dispute over development of gas fields near the boundary of the two sides.

Japan and China are at loggerheads over their natural gas exploration activities near the median line in the East China Sea. They hold different definitions of where the exclusive economic zones are separated.

The report notes while China ''is cautious about using military force to solve international issues as it understands that doing so will hinder its own development,'' it is ''likely that the Chinese Communist Party will go its own way to secure its sovereignty and territory as well as expand its interests in the sea.''

The discussions on possible Chinese attacks are also believed to be behind Japan's plans to shift its troop alignment focus from the north, made under the assumption of Soviet threats during the Cold War, to the south near Okinawa and the Nansei Islands, closer to China and Taiwan, the sources said.

The agency's caution about potential threats from China was apparently due to increased concerns brewing among politicians in the ruling coalition on how to deal with China's growing military, political and economical power, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the report also stresses the need for diplomatic efforts to avoid conflicts with China. It says that while the Japan-U.S. alliance needs to be strengthened to prepare for Chinese threats, ''economic and technological cooperation from neighboring countries is essential for a stable China.''

Source: Kyodo News

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