Japan seeks to 'nationalize' islands
Updated: 2013-07-16 02:14
By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)
The Japanese Defense Ministry is proposing "boosting the marine functions of the Self-Defense Forces" in its interim report for a planned revision of the country's long-term defense policy, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported on Sunday.
The move underscores the importance attached by the ministry to strengthening the Self-Defense Forces' ability to defend remote islands, Kyodo said.
Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "Tokyo is now attempting greater control of maritime areas in order to give it an advantage in territorial disputes.
"Japan is seeking to be a political and military power with its moves on maritime disputes and its so-called measures to secure maritime interests," Li said.
In mid-June, the Japanese armed forces participated in a joint military drill with the US Army, which involved the simulated retaking an airport occupied by an "enemy".
These moves highlight Tokyo's "desperation" to defend and retake remote islands at an early date, said major Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit Okinawa Prefecture in the southwest of the country on Tuesday.
The trip seems to demonstrate his determination to enhance the defense of remote islands amid the flaring up of tension with China, Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper said.
"It is rare for a prime minister to visit remote islands during an election campaign," Japan's Jiji Press News Agency commented.
Mo Jingxi and AFP contributed to this story.