The government will not disclose its evidence of China’s recent locking of weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese warship because doing so would tip its hand on intelligence operations, official sources said Monday.
The Liberal Democratic Party-led government had considered disclosure after Beijing denied Japan’s accusations that a Chinese frigate aimed its weapons radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on Jan. 30 near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea at the heart of a bilateral dispute.
Disclosure poses “great risk in terms of defense as it would mean that Chinese military authorities would be looking at the MSDF’s secrets concerning information-gathering operations,” a senior Defense Ministry official said.
A government source also said such disclosure would “difficult” as the evidence data touch on the “subtleties” of Japanese security.
Read the rest of the story: Japan not to disclose evidence of China radar target-lock on MSDF assets.
Washington has sided with Tokyo in the war of words over allegations that Chinese frigates locked their weapons-guiding radar on Japanese targets near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The U.S. said Monday it has accepted Japan’s explanation and dismissed Beijing’s claim that the government fabricated the story to tarnish China’s image and intentionally raise the tension over the disputed islets.
“We were briefed by our Japanese allies on the incident and we’ve satisfied ourselves that it does appear to have happened,” Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said during her daily briefing Monday in Washington.
Read the rest of the story: U.S. agrees: Chinese frigates locked their weapons radar on MSDF units.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged China on Wednesday not to stoke tension over disputed East China Sea isles, a day after Japan said a Chinese vessel directed radar normally used to aim weapons at a target at a Japanese navy ship.
A Chinese government spokeswoman said she was not aware of the details of the incident, and focused instead on China’s stance that Japan should stop sending its ships into what China considers its territorial waters around the islands.
“The incident is a dangerous conduct that could have led to an unforeseeable situation. It is extremely regrettable that China carried out such a one-sided, provocative act when signs are emerging for dialogue,” Abe told parliament.
“I ask the Chinese side to return to the spirit of mutually beneficial, strategic relations and prevent the recurrence of an incident like this. I strongly ask them for restraints so that the situation will not escalate further.”
Read the rest of the story: Japan PM urges Chinese restraint after radar lock-on.
China said Wednesday that its navy would proceed with a deep-water training exercise amid a continuing spat with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea that has sparked regular confrontations among patrol boats from each side.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website that the previously scheduled exercise would take place in the coming days in the Pacific, beyond where the islands are located, and where deep waters are ideal for anti-submarine drills.
The navy, which last year launched China’s first aircraft carrier, held seven such drills last year, each involving a half-dozen or more surface ships and an unknown number of submarines. The exercises reflect China’s long-held aspirations to build a navy that can operate far from its shores.
Ships taking part in such exercises before have passed just north of the disputed islands, which lie midway between Taiwan and the Japanese island of Okinawa. Training takes place farther out to sea, although the exact location is not announced.
Read the rest of the story: China Announces Naval Exercise Amid Japan Tensions
Japan says it may fire warning shots and take other measures to keep foreign aircraft from violating its airspace in the latest verbal blast between Tokyo and Beijing that raises concerns that a dispute over hotly contested islands could spin out of control.
Japanese officials made the comments after Chinese fighters tailed its warplanes near the islands recently. The incident is believed to be the first scrambling of Chinese fighters since the tensions began to rise last spring.
According to Chinese media, a pair of J-10 fighters was scrambled after Japanese F-15s began tailing a Chinese surveillance plane near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. China has complained the surveillance flight did not violate Japanese airspace and the F-15s were harassing it.
Read the rest of the story: Japan Talk of Warning Shots Heats up China Dispute.
In a telling sign of how China’s rise has helped turn former wartime foes into allies, Japan and the Philippines agreed on Thursday to cooperate more closely on maritime security.
During talks in Manila, the foreign ministers of Japan and the Philippines proclaimed their nations to be strategic partners that would collaborate more in resolving their separate territorial disputes with China, news reports said. They also expressed “mutual concern” over increasingly assertive claims by China that have embroiled both nations, according to Kyodo News.
Japan is in a tense showdown over islands in the East China Sea, while the Philippines has wrangled with China over control of islands and fishing grounds in the South China Sea. The two nations agreed to exchange information and discuss each other’s strategies for responding to China, the ministers were quoted as saying. The Philippine minister, Albert del Rosario, said the discussion included a request by his country for 10 new patrol ships from Japan to strengthen the Filipino coast guard.
Read the rest of the story: Japan and Philippines to Bolster Maritime Cooperation.
Japan’s hawkish new prime minister took aim at Beijing again Friday, accusing China of deliberately allowing Japanese businesses to suffer in the corrosive row over disputed islands.
The salvo is the latest from nationalist Shinzo Abe since he swept to victory in elections last month and came as he announced a spending splurge, including on military hardware.
It also follows reports that policymakers want next year’s defence budget in Japan to rise for the first time in more than a decade, as Asia’s two biggest economies continue to face off over the East China Sea.
“For political ends, harming Japanese companies and individuals in China that contribute to the Chinese economy and society — I want to say it is wrong for a responsible nation state in the international community,” Abe told a press conference in Tokyo.
“It not only harms bilateral relations, it has a significantly negative influence on China’s economy and its society.”
Read the rest of the story: Japan PM fires fresh broadside at China in row.
Japan scrambled fighter jets on Thursday to head off a number of Chinese military planes near islands at the centre of a territorial dispute, Japanese media said.
The Chinese planes were spotted on Japanese military radar north of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, known as Diaoyu in China, the Fuji TV network reported, quoting Japanese government officials.
They did not violate territorial airspace over the islands but flew inside Japan’s so-called air defence identification zone, the report said.
The Japanese defence ministry press office did not confirm the report.
The Chinese planes were gone when F-15 jet fighters from an airbase on Japan’s main Okinawan island reached the area, the report said, adding the Chinese flights continued until about 5:00 pm (0800 GMT).
Chinese government ships and planes have been seen off the disputed islands numerous times since Japan nationalised them in September, sometimes within the 12 nautical-mile territorial zone.
Japan dispatched fighter jets last month after a Chinese state-owned plane breached airspace over the islands.
Japan scrambled fighter jets today to head off a Chinese state-owned plane that flew near islands at the centre of a dispute between Tokyo and Beijing, a Japanese Defence Ministry spokesman said.
The Japanese jets were mobilised after a Chinese maritime aircraft ventured some 120 km north of the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, at around 12:00 pm (0830 IST), the spokesman said.
The Chinese Y-12 twin-turboprop later left the zone without entering Japanese airspace over the islands, he added.
It is the first time Japanese fighter jets have been scrambled this year to counter Chinese aircraft approaching the islands, the spokesman said.
Japan dispatched fighter jets last month after a Chinese state-owned plane breached airspace over the islands, while Chinese government ships have moved in and out of waters there for the past few months.
The confrontations have become commonplace since Japan nationalised the East China Sea islands in September, a move it insisted amounted to nothing more than a change of ownership of what was already Japanese territory.
But Beijing reacted with fury, with observers saying riots that erupted across China in the weeks following had at least tacit Government backing.
Tied up with surveillance in waters around the Senkaku Islands due to repeated incursions by Chinese ships, the Japan Coast Guard is looking at using end-of-life patrol vessels and reemploying retired officers.
The ideas have been proposed as Chinese government ships have continued to enter Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-administered islands in Okinawa Prefecture since the Japanese government nationalized some of the uninhabited islands last September. China also claims the islands, which it calls Diaoyu.
A senior coast guard official said, “We cannot deal with the situation over the long term (within the current organizational structure).”
The Japan Coast Guard had a staff of 12,671 at the end of March 2012, up some 420 from 10 years ago. It had a fleet of 121 patrol ships, down three, while efforts to introduce new models are under way.
The number of patrol vessels of 1,000 tons or more, which constitute the main fleet policing territorial waters came to 51, more than some 40 such Chinese ships. They have been deployed to waters near the Senkaku Islands from across Japan.
Read the rest of the story: Japan Eyes Old Ships, Retirees for Patrol near Senkakus.