Opinion / From the Press

Sign of Japan's ambitions

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-25 07:32

Sign of Japan's ambitions

F-22 stealth fighter jets belonging to the US Air Force move to take off at a US air force base in Osan, south of Seoul April 3, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]

Japan's recent test flight of its first domestically developed X-2 stealth fighter jet has sparked extensive speculation about its intentions.

Theoretically, the maiden flight of the X-2 makes Japan the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to successfully produce a stealth fighter.

Given that the US has refused to sell F-22 stealth fighters to Japan and only agreed to sell it less sophisticated F-35 jets, analysts believe that the X-2 is partly aimed at changing Washington's attitude and enhancing its own status in the Asian security landscape.

Despite its dependence on its military alliance with the US for its own defense, Japan's first-class electronic and materials technologies mean it has huge potential to comprehensively increase its military influence in Asia-Pacific geopolitics.

The US has also shown willingness to let Japan make "contributions" to Asian security and is encouraging it to share "responsibilities". Such a subtle change is believed to be Washington's attitude toward "China's rise".

However, Japan actually resents the presence of US forces in its territory more than it welcomes the US' "military protection" and that its ultimate goal is to get rid of various restrictions imposed on it after World War II and completely stand up as a "normal country".

If Japan maintains its economic power status and its advanced technological edge and chooses to pursue the status of a military power, it will not need the US' military protection nor follow its lead. With such an ambition, conflicts with China will be just the first step.

China may have no leverage to stop Japan's military ambitions, but what it can do is to develop its own military more rapidly and make the security situation in East Asia develop to its advantage.

--Global Times

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