Tokyo: Japanese government has begun the establishment of a fully equipped army base in the ‘East China Sea’, which lies between China and Japan on the ‘Ishigaki Island’ near the disputed Senkaku group of islands. Anti-missile systems, anti-aircraft and anti-warship missiles, radar systems and army units will be deployed at the base. The media informed that this plan is being executed keeping in view the threat to the Ishigaki Island, if a conflict sparks off on the Senkaku Islands issue between Japan and China.
There was immense tension in the Asia-Pacific region for the past one year, because of the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea. Along with the United States and China, Japan and South Korea have increased their military activity in this region; and frequent army exercises are being organised. The US aircraft carriers have increased their presence in the region and China, Russia and North Korea had expressed strong protests against it. But, the US had clearly indicated continuation of the visits by the warships and military deployment in the region, for the security of Japan and South Korea.
Along with the North Korea problem, there is a possibility of escalation of tensions between China and Japan over the disputed island groups in the East China Sea. China has increased the movements of its warships, submarines and the fighter jets in East China Sea, in the last year. There have been incidences when Japan had to deploy their fighter jets in order to stop the Chinese jets. The skirmishes between the Japanese Coast guard and Chinese ships are on the rise and these factors are an indication of the increased possibility of conflict between the two countries.
Against this background, Japan has majorly increased its defence expenditure taking it to a record $ 45 billion. The indications are that this increased defence expenditure will be spent in acquiring new warships, fighter jets, anti-missile systems and advanced missiles. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed its defence forces to adopt a policy of aggression and establishment of the army base at Ishigaki island is considered a part of this policy.
Yoshitaka Nakayama, the mayor of Ishigaki, has endorsed the deployment of the Japanese army in this region. Nakayama alleged that China is repeatedly violating the Japanese sea territory and adopting a very aggressive stance. He also claimed that the deployment of the missile systems will be deterrent for the Chinese aggression. As per the proposal of the Japanese government, there will be more than 600 soldiers deployed at Ishigaki.