There was an interesting article today in Reuters that talks about the Japanese security forces and their growing concerns of the military build ups by neighboring countries. From China, to North Korea, and even Russia, tensions are high in the region and the Japanese are watching everyone closely.
Tensions in that region of the world are very high right now and Japan is right in the middle of it. China and Japan have been bickering over a small chain of islands for long time now. Military boats shadow each other and Japanese jets, at a record setting pace, have been scrambled when Chinese planes get close to the area. Both sides are eyeing each other and with the new announcement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the Japanese military would be expanding more to help allies, the Chinese are even more wary of the Japanese military and their planes. The Chinese, like most of the region, hold deep grudges (rightfully so) against Japan for the past and when their are military build ups, everyone watches it closely.
Then there is the always constant issue of North Korea. North Korea continues to test missiles, firing them into the Sea of Japan, going against NATO and the other allies telling them to stop. They are always threatening and should always be watched because of their volatile nature. Japan and the US, its biggest ally, want strong sanctions on the small country, but nothing seems to calm them down or stop them. Having constant missiles being fired right off of the coast is a major issue that the Japanese military has to constantly watch.
Another issue is Russia. As Russia, Ukraine, Europe and the US continue to point fingers, place sanctions on each other, and point fingers of blame at MH 17 and other disasters, Japan finds themselves in a strange spot. Before the Japanese wanted to open up more trade talks with Russia, something that would help the Japanese economy out. However, now with the US and European countries coming down hard on Russia, Japan is supporting their ally the US with more sanctions towards Russia, drawing anger from their big neighbor to the west. While there is no military threat, both sides are on cold ground and Japan is no that excited about it.
Its a very interesting and precarious time for Japan and its military. I hope things remain stable in the region and issues with China and others are resolved without incident.