The FT's Gideon Rachman on Japan's security fears (emphasis mine):
Abe’s radicalism is not driven solely by domestic economics. Japan has also been jolted into action by the perception of a growing threat from China. The Chinese economy surpassed Japan’s in size in 2011; the gap is widening with each passing year. China will soon have its own problem with ageing, as a result of its one-child policy. But Japanese strategists point out that China’s annual military spending is now three to four times that of Japan. The two countries are engaged in dangerous military jostling, as they pursue a territorial dispute over some barren rocks in the East China Sea. While the west still debates whether the rise of China is threatening, there is no longer a debate in Japan, where national alarm is palpable.
That last line resonates because I recently heard exactly the same sentiment from a senior Australian strategic analyst who had just returned from Japan.
I'd be interested to hear from readers based in Japan, and those who know the country, about Rachman's view. What is the tenor of Japan's public and political debate about China's rise? Have you detected a growing sense of concern? Alarm, even? And how do Japanese people believe these concerns ought to be addressed? Email me on email@example.com.
Photo by Flickr user Duane Storey.