The 'China factor' in Japanese military modernization for the 21st century
Wiltse, Jeffrey S.
Callahan, Mary P.
Olsen, Edward A.
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Japan's reevaluation of its security position and the role it wishes to play in regional and international matters has been influenced by the reemergence of China and continue to affect Japan as it moves to its newly described role. Japan's ongoing modernization of its forces, which are directed under its National Defense Program Outline and Midterm Defense Program, do not, however, seem to be in reaction to any overt perception of a Chinese threat or Chinese influence. These programs reflect Japan's decision to take a "balanced approach" to security, an approach based on the United States-Japan security arrangements, supported by a self-reliant defense force and in conjunction with regional and international approaches to security. The Japanese, with their balanced approach to security, are carefully preparing for the 21st Century. By addressing security from bilateral, regional/multilateral, and international perspectives, Japan is putting itself on a more even keel. It is no longer relying exclusively on the United States-Japan security arrangements nor is it waiting for the United States to lead the way in its foreign policy. The "China factor," in its small way, has enabled Japan to better prepare itself to deal with the United States, its neighbors, as well as the rest of the world, as it prepares for the 21st Century. Areas of tension remain, however, that could stress, strain or break its security structure. Such an event could cause Japan to reassess the system it has chosen. What is clear, however, is that Sino- Japanese relations will play a critical role on which ever path it goes.
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