Japan's illusionary sense of fear
- Source: Global Times
The successful flight of the J-20 stealth fighter has sparked concern among China's neighboring countries. Japan seems to be the most worried. It is reported that Japan is discussing importing the American F-35 jet fighter, as well as buying Russian fifth-generation jets. This build-up is aimed at the J-20.
Every step of China's military growth seems to unnerve Japan more than it does the US. This is understandable given the geographic proximity of China and Japan. But does Japan's fear of China's rise make sense?
That China remains less powerful than Japan seems to be the endgame here. Otherwise, Japan would not feel any unease. It cannot accept China's military spending growth, it is unwilling to see China's fleet breaking through neighboring island chains. China's plans to build aircraft carriers and to fly the J-20 compounds this unhappiness.
But will China adjust its long-chosen military plan because of this worry? China has a population 10 times larger than Japan's. China's growth cannot be decided by the will of Japan. Japan has to gradually accept a stronger China and ponder the future of northeast Asia based on that reality.
The "China threat" is imaginary: Japan has benefited from China's rise. Japan is clear that the way China is dealing with Asian countries is different from its own militaristic past. Japan had invaded other countries when it was a rising power. Does the fact give it reason to infer China will follow the same route? China's military growth is not targeting Japan. Japanese society must understand this. The competition between the two countries has to be rational and pragmatic.
China, aiming at having more open land and sea territory, is encouraged by the J-20. Japan's worry demonstrates that it is overly guarding against China.
The illusionary sense of crisis will not make Japan feel any better. Perhaps it should take a look at the cultural relics looted from China now on display in the Tokyo museums. China didn't harm Japan in history. Why would it do so in future?