As Japan and the US start talks on how to respond to armed incidents that fall short of a full-scale attack on Japan, officials in Tokyo worry that their ally is reluctant to send China a strong message of deterrence.
Military officials meet this week in Hawaii to review bilateral defense guidelines for the first time in 17 years. Tokyo hopes to zero in on specific perceived threats, notably China’s claims to the Japanese-held Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Taiwan, while Washington is emphasizing broader discussions, officials on both sides say.
Washington takes no position on the sovereignty of the islands, called the Senkaku Islands by Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) by China, but recognizes that Japan administers them and says they fall under the US-Japan Security Treaty, which obligates the US to come to Japan’s defense.
However, even as Asia-Pacific security tensions mount, US officials have made clear they do not want to get pulled into a conflict between the world’s second and third-biggest economies.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is alarmed at China’s rapid military buildup. Beijing in turn accuses Tokyo of being a regional threat, citing Abe’s more nationalist stance, his reversal of years of falling military spending and his visit to a shrine that Asian countries see as glorifying Japan’s wartime past.
“Japan wants to prioritize discussions on China, and clarify the respective US and Japanese roles in the event of a ‘gray zone’ incident,” a Japanese government official said, referring to less than full-scale, systematic military attacks backed by a state, but still representing a threat to Japan’s security.
Tokyo wants Washington to join in drafting scenarios for how the two allies would respond in specific cases, he said.
However, Washington is worried about provoking China by being too specific, Japanese officials and experts say.
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
‘AVOIDABLE SITUATION’: After being tortured in his home country, a Sri Lankan and his family are at risk of deportation from the UK, despite his academic fellowship A scientist conducting groundbreaking research into renewable energy is facing deportation with his family to Sri Lanka, where he was tortured, after receiving contradictory information about his case from the British Home Office. Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five, went to the UK in 2018 after Muhunthan, who is working on thin-film photovoltaic devices used to generate solar power, was given a prestigious Commonwealth Rutherford fellowship. The award allowed him to reside to the UK for two years to research and develop the technology. His wife obtained a job caring for
DEMAND-DRIVEN: The report, produced by Greenpeace and TheTreeMap, said law enforcement has allowed palm oil plantations on UNESCO sites, parks and tiger habitats Almost one-fifth of the land used for Indonesian palm oil plantations is located in the country’s forest conservation areas, despite a law banning such activity, a study by Greenpeace has found. The report, produced by Greenpeace and TheTreeMap, describes a catastrophic failure of law enforcement that has permitted swathes of land — including UNESCO sites, national parks and areas mapped as habitats for orangutans and Sumatran tigers — to be cultivated as palm oil plantations. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, which is used in many everyday products and foods, from shampoo and lipstick to chocolate and frozen pizzas. However,
A top global law firm is no longer representing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in seeking the removal of a Tiananmen memorial from its campus after it came under heavy criticism in the US for helping China purge dissent, the Washington Post reported. Mayer Brown is the latest international company to face pressure over how its actions in China contradict its more progressive statements in the West. The 8m high Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot has stood on HKU’s campus since 1997, the year the city was handed back to China. It features 50 anguished faces and tortured