Saturday, January 5, 2013



The real war was tragic and ironic beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest, but THE YOUNG GENERATION especially, the meaning of the war seemed inaccessible. Thus, as experience, the suffering was wasted. The same tricks of publicity and advertising might have succeeded in sweetening the actualities of Vietnam if television and a vigorous, uncensored, moral journalism hadn't been brought to bear. Because the Second World War was fought against palpable evil, and thus was a sort of moral triumph, we have been reluctant to probe very deeply into its murderous requirements. The young in Japan has not yet understood what the war was like and thus has been unable to use such understanding to reinterpret and redefine the national reality and to arrive at something like public maturity. Thus the denial of the Japanese government to inform them in their past atrocities will haunt this generation if war breaks out, and remembering, they are now in the other shoe.

The production team found and interviewed numerous survivors, most of them quite frail and old, at sites with similar surroundings where the atrocities happened or right in their own homes. We were very grateful to be able to interview the only surviving victim who had been interviewed by Iris ten years ago. Interviews with the survivors proved to be very emotional and a few of us were in tears. However, the emotion made us more determined to tell their stories to the world. We also interviewed professors who had helped Iris when she stayed in Nanjing.

Chinese military troops stand at attention for visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Bayi Building in Beijing, on September 18, 2012. Panetta was on the second official stop of a three-nation tour to Japan, China and New Zealand.

A Japanese soldier stands guard over part of the captured Great Wall of China in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been at war intermittently since 1931, but the conflict escalated in 1937. (LOC) #


Japanese aircraft carry out a bombing run over targets in China in 1937. (LOC) #

Japanese soldiers involved in street fighting in Shanghai, China in 1937. The battle of Shanghai lasted from August through November of 1937, eventually involving nearly one million troops. In the end, Shanghai fell to the Japanese, after over 150,000 casualties combined. (LOC) #




Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Under the banner of the rising sun, Japanese troops are shown passing from the Chinese City of Peiping into the Tartar City through Chen-men, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City. Just a stone's throw away is the American Embassy, where American residents of Peiping flocked when Sino-Japanese hostilities were at their worst. (AP Photo) #

First pictures of the Japanese occupation of

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Japanese soldiers execute captured Chinese soldiers with bayonets in a trench as other Japanese soldiers watch from rim. (LOC) #

December 13, 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most odious chapters of 20th-century totalitarianism. The Japanese Army, upon invading Nanking (Nanjing), China, in 1937, began a reign of murder, rape, and mayhem that would be known forever after as simply “The Rape of Nanking.” The number of Chinese who died in this orgy of violence and violation will never be known with certainty, but credible estimates put the figure at around 300,000 men, women, and children.

The methods used by Japanese soldiers almost defy belief and betray the absence of any human conscience. Women and girls were submitted to a hellish orgy of mass rape, often until death, that could be equaled in history perhaps only to the conduct of the Russian communist army as it passed through Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and then Germany. And men, women, and children were bayoneted or otherwise impaled with bamboo or other objects.

In both instances, Red Army and Japanese Army troops, the slave soldiers of sadistic totalitarian regimes that cared no more for their own people than for anyone else on Earth, brutalized into near madness by their own leaders, were unleashed upon women and children as a reward for their fighting.

Rape, of course, is a cruel companion of war, and it has been since the beginning of history. Yet never, perhaps, has it been so carefully nourished in the bosoms of fighting men.

Military leaders could largely stop rape if they were of a mind to do so. Even in the most savage fighting, such as in Sherman’s March to the Sea during the American Civil War, as Victor Davis Hanson has noted, rape could be constrained. In that campaign there were almost no reported cases of rape at all.

Among the sordid and sad history of Nanking, however, shines one bright light: Christians stood up, often at grave personal risk, to protect tens of thousands of Chinese girls. It some instances, this nobility seems macabre by our thinking today. John Rabe, a German in Nanking and nominally a Nazi (although it is clear he rejected Nazism) intervened again and again against Japanese soldiers holding only a swastika as a talisman to frighten them away, and it worked.

Rabe’s diaries, published after the war, make it clear that he was a deeply religious man whose Christian faith trumped any superficial association with Nazism.

On October 17, 1937, as the menace to Nanking was growing, Rabe wrote: “My prayer each morning and evening goes: ‘Dear God, watch over my family and my good humor; I’ll take care of the rest.’” Then in the very bowels of the Hell that was Nanking in December 24, 1937: “I’ll close today’s entry with a prayer in my heart: May a gracious God keep all of you from ever again having to face a crisis like this one in which we now find ourselves.” Two days later Rabe wrote: “I thank my Creator with all my heart that everything went smoothly.” On January 9, 1938, Rabe told his diary: “We 22 foreigners who remained here in Nanking have behaved as bravely as the first Christians in Rome who were devoured by lions in the arena.”

When he returned to Germany, having repeatedly asked the German government to protest the massacre, Rabe was interrogated by the Gestapo and prevented from discussing the massacre. He was soon sent off to Afghanistan, safely out of the way.

As WWII progressed, Germany was bombed and her cities were gutted. After the Allied victory over Hitler, Rabe lived in great poverty and deprivation in Soviet-occupied Germany, where he saw nearly every woman he knew repeatedly raped by Soviet soldiers in a replay of the horror in Nanking.

The competition was reported in a Tokyo newspaper, and it was clear that two soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army were partaking with extraordinary enthusiasm. ‘Incredible record in the contest to behead 100 people!’ screamed the headline with gruesome relish. ‘Mukai 106 - 105 Noda - Both 2nd Lieutenants go into extra innings.’ According to the report, two junior officers had a wager to see who could decapitate 100 Chinese soldiers first.

City Of Life And Death

Brutal history: A scene from the new film City Of Life And Death.  But they hit their target so quickly that they decided to set a new goal of 150. The date was December 13, 1937, and the Japanese Imperial Army was in the process of ruthlessly conquering Nanking, which was then the capital of China.

Ten years later, the story came to the attention of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal. Second Lieutenants Mukai and Noda were extradited from Japan and executed.  Hitler and Stalin may have killed millions more by gassing or starving, but the sheer velocity of the Nanking massacre is what takes the breath away.  In just six weeks, hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were slaughtered by the Imperial Army in and around Nanking.  Quite how many hundreds of thousands has never been agreed.  China claims 300,000. The official tribunal put the death toll at 200,000.  The more conservative elements of Japanese society have always argued that the figures were wildly exaggerated. Where some revised it down to 100,000, or even less, others went so far as to question whether the killings took place at all.  You might imagine that nearly three-quarters of a century on, none of this matters any more. But the massacre is a historical event that refuses to be consigned to the past.  To many Chinese and Japanese alike, it still matters intensely. While the argument about massaging the figures and the extent of Japanese guilt continues to simmer, the smoking bonfire of the conflict cannot be extinguished. And while that remains the case, relations between two of the world’s biggest and most important economies will never be normalised. This month not one but two new films about Nanking are out in British cinemas.  Watching them is a brutalising experience. The first, called City Of War: The Story Of John Rabe, tells the story of a German resident and Nazi party leader in Nanking who set up a safety zone in the city. Like Oskar Schindler, whose story was told in Schindler’s List, Rabe helped to save the lives of thousands of civilians.


Barbarity: 20,000 Chinese women were raped by Japanese soldiers in Nanking during the 1930sCity Of War includes a reenactment of the beheading contest. But for the sheer scope of violence, it finishes in second place to the other film, City Of Life And Death. Though Rabe is featured in this film, too, the main characters are Chinese and Japanese. City Of Life And Death is one of the most unsparing films about the horrors of war ever made. There are mass shootings and executions, crowds indiscriminately mown down and men shot at the stake by firing squad. Victims dig their own mass graves.  A barn full of hundreds of screaming prisoners is locked and incinerated. The carnage is indescribable. In the charnel house that is Nanking, Japanese soldiers drunk on death kill like addicts getting a fix. Nor does the film flinch in visiting the other horrific aspect of Japanese crimes: the rape of 20,000 women, most of whom were then killed.  In one scene a woman lies numbed, as if in a self-protecting coma, while a group of eager soldiers queue up. A few frames later, her naked body is tossed on to a cart already loaded with female corpses. The viewer is at least spared the uniquely ghastly method of ritualised mutilation, which was to stab the rape victim afterwards with bayonets or bamboo. Nor is there any overt reference to another aspect of the Imperial Army’s sadism: the random slaughter of children. Babies were speared on bayonets. Pregnant women were raped. One was raped at full-term, then stabbed in her womb.

While China continues to refer to this bloodstained moment in Chinese history as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, in Japan they call it the Nanking Incident, as if it’s some slightly embarrassing faux pas committed by a drunken uncle a few years back. So what was the background to such atrocities? It was in 1931 that Japan invaded Manchuria. The trigger was a bomb attack on a stretch of railway on the Chinese coast leased by Japan. The bomb did little damage, feeding speculation that it was planted by the Japanese themselves.


Civilians were 'shot down like the hunting of rabbits in the streets' by soldiers . However, the Imperial Army promptly occupied several cities along hundreds of miles of coastline.  Resistance from the Chinese began only once the communists and nationalists buried their differences and agreed to unite.  That was in 1937. As a result, the Japanese army took huge casualties and several bloody months to subdue Shanghai. Nanking was next.  The Chinese leadership anticipated a heavy defeat and withdrew the majority of their troops. A rump of 100,000 mostly untrained soldiers remained, many of whom later fled, forcing civilians to hand over their clothes to them before they left. Civilians were prevented from fleeing by the blockage of the roads and port.  The conditions could not have been more perfectly created for what happened next. And it’s not difficult to see why, for many, this is a wound that stubbornly refuses to heal. According to Japanese historians and politicians, the deaths, such as they were, were a legitimate consequence of war. Yes, punishment was threatened for soldiers who ‘dishonour the Japanese army’. But according to a journalist travelling with the army, the rapid advance on Nanking was fuelled by ‘the tacit consent among the officers and men that they could loot and rape as they wish’.  A small number of remaining Westerners, mostly Americans, were able to keep a record of events as they unfolded. Among them was a rookie reporter for the New York Times.  At the waterfront he saw ‘a group of smoking, chattering Japanese officers overseeing the massacring of a battalion of Chinese captured troops. They were marching about in groups of about 15, machine-gunning them’.In just ten minutes he saw 200 prisoners meet their deaths. The Japanese were evidently enjoying themselves. The Japanese government had agreed to attack only those parts of the city containing Chinese troops. Civilians fled to the Nanking safety zone, but it turned out to be no guarantee of salvation. John Magee, an American missionary who had lived in Nanking for more than 20 years, witnessed civilians ‘shot down like the hunting of rabbits in the streets’.

He captured on film examples of Japanese crimes, including the murder in one house of 12 residents, from grandparents to babies.


'We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer,' a Japanese soldier recalled The females, including teenagers, were raped and horrifically mutilated.  ‘The slaughter of civilians is appalling,’ wrote Robert Wilson, a surgeon in the University Hospital, in a letter home on December 15.  ‘I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief.  ‘Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number and wounded the two that found their way to the hospital.’  ‘Rape! Rape! Rape!’ wrote the Reverend James McCallum.  ‘We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet.’  John Rabe reported the same figure: a tariff of 1,000 rape victims in one night, including one woman behind his garden wall.  She was raped, then stabbed in the neck.  ‘You hear nothing but rape,’ he wrote.  ‘If husbands or brothers intervene, they’re shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers.’  A Chinese witness recalled a pregnant woman being raped, then stabbed.  ‘She gave a final scream as her stomach was slashed open. Then the soldier stabbed the unborn child and tossed it aside.’  It’s not as if the only witness accounts were from neutrals or victims. A Japanese soldier called Azuma Shiro later recalled capturing nearly 40 old people and children, including one woman with a child in each arm.

‘We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer. I thought then that it’s been only one month since I left home ... and 30 days later I was killing people without remorse.’ An English language teacher called Minnie Vautrin kept a diary.  ‘There probably is no crime that has not been committed in this city today,’ she wrote on December 16.  ‘Thirty girls were taken from the language school last night, and today I have heard scores of heartbreaking stories of girls who were taken from their homes last night - one of the girls was but 12 years old.’  Her diary refers to scenes ‘that a lifetime will not erase from my memory’.


Japanese soldiers raped up to 1,000 women a day - anyone who resisted was stabbed or shot.  After a breakdown, she returned home in 1940 and a year later committed suicide.  Prophetically, she wrote: ‘How many thousands were mowed down by guns or bayoneted we shall probably never know.’  And that is the nub of the argument between China and Japan that continues to this day.  If anything, in the past decade it has intensified. Where Germany has long since admitted its guilt for wartime genocide and made Holocaust denial a crime, Japan has passed no equivalent legislation.  Ten years ago, a Nanking survivor - who was eight when she saw seven family members murdered and heard her mother and sister being raped and then killed - sued two Japanese authors and their publisher for allegedly distorting the truth about the event.  Hiding under a quilt, she had been stabbed three times. She bore witness at the war crimes tribunal in 1945.  And yet one of the writers, a professor, said in an interview that there was ‘no record’ proving the massacre had taken place.  For Japanese schoolchildren there was, indeed, very little record.  In Japan, history lessons have tended to ignore the atrocities committed by the Imperial Army. Textbooks tell their own version of the truth while Takami Eto, a senior Japanese politician, described the Nanking massacre as ‘a big lie’.  For much of the past decade, China refused to hold bilateral talks with Japan because its then prime minister kept visiting the shrine memorial to Japan’s war dead in Tokyo.  Among the dead are several convicted war criminals held responsible for the Nanking massacre.  Now we have the latest instalment in this toxic saga with the release of City Of Life And Death.  It is an immensely powerful film, brilliantly directed by Lu Chuan, a young star of the Chinese cinema. When the film opened last April in China, it caused a storm of protest. On his official blog, Lu received a number of death threats. The interesting thing about these violent responses is that they did not come from Japan. They came from China. Lu’s crime, in the eyes of some, has been to humanise the enemy. One Japanese soldier is seen wandering through the scenes of horror looking profoundly shaken by the senseless acts of savagery perpetrated by his compatriots.  The idea that a Japanese soldier might have feelings turns out to be deeply shocking to some Chinese. Some detractors called for City Of Life And Death to be deleted from the history of Chinese cinema. It was not included in the official list of films celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It was also withdrawn at the last minute from the Chinese equivalent of the Baftas. Despite the furore, City Of Life And Death made $20million (£13.1million) in its first two weeks.  The film has been seen elsewhere in the world. Two weeks ago, it won best movie at the Asian Film Awards.  But however much it humanises the enemy, there is one country in Asia where there is no immediate prospect of a release.

File:Iwane Matsui rides into Nanjing.jpg




n August 1937, the Japanese army invaded Shanghai where they met strong resistance and suffered heavy casualties. The battle was bloody as both sides faced attrition in urban hand-to-hand combat. By mid-November the Japanese had captured Shanghai with the help of naval bombardment. The General Staff Headquarters in Tokyo initially decided not to expand the war due to heavy casualties and low morale of the troops. However, on December 1, headquarters ordered the Central China Area Army and the 10th Army to capture Nanking, then-capital of the Republic of China.

Relocation of the capital

After losing the Battle of Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek knew that the fall of Nanking would simply be a matter of time. He and his staff realized that they could not risk the annihilation of their elite troops in a symbolic but hopeless defense of the capital. In order to preserve the army for future battles, most of them were withdrawn. Chiang's strategy was to follow the suggestion of his German advisers to draw the Japanese army deep into China utilizing China's vast territory as a defensive strength. Chiang planned to fight a protracted war of attrition by wearing down the Japanese in the hinterland of China.[13]

Leaving General Tang Shengzhi in charge of the city for the Battle of Nanking, Chiang and many of his advisors flew to Wuhan, where they stayed until it was attacked in 1938.

Strategy for the defense of Nanking

In a press release to foreign reporters, Tang Shengzhi announced the city would not surrender and would fight to the death. Tang gathered about 100,000 soldiers, largely untrained, including Chinese troops who had participated in the Battle of Shanghai. To prevent civilians from fleeing the city, he ordered troops to guard the port, as instructed by Chiang Kai-shek. The defense force blocked roads, destroyed boats, and burnt nearby villages, preventing widespread evacuation.

The Chinese government left for relocation on December 1, and the president left on December 7, leaving the fate of Nanking to an International Committee led by John Rabe.

The defense plan fell apart quickly. Those defending the city encountered Chinese troops fleeing from previous defeats such as the Battle of Shanghai, running from the advancing Japanese army. This did nothing to help the morale of the defenders, many of whom were killed during the defense of the city and subsequent Japanese occupation.

Approach of the Imperial Japanese Army

Japanese war crimes on the march to Nanking

An article on the "Contest to kill 100 people using a sword" published in theTokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun. The headline reads, "'Incredible Record' (in the Contest to Cut Down 100 People) —Mukai 106 – 105 Noda—Both 2nd Lieutenants Go Into Extra Innings".[14]

File:Republic of China Armed Forces Museum Nanking.jpg

Sword used in the "contest" on display at the Republic of China Armed Forces Museum in Taipei, Taiwan

Although the Nanking Massacre is generally described as having occurred over a six-week period after the fall of Nanking, the crimes committed by the Japanese army were not limited to that period. Many atrocities were reported to have been committed as the Japanese army advanced from Shanghai to Nanking.

According to one Japanese journalist embedded with Imperial forces at the time, "The reason that the [10th Army] is advancing to Nanking quite rapidly is due to the tacit consent among the officers and men that they could loot and rape as they wish."Prince Asaka appointed as commander

File:Asakanomiya yasuhiko.jpg  

Prince Yasuhiko Asaka in 1940

File:Chinese head, Nanking massacre.JPG

Head of a Chinese man beheaded by Japanese is wedged in a barricade near Nanking just before the fall of the city.[28]

In a memorandum for the palace rolls, Hirohito had singled Prince Asaka Yasuhiko out for censure as the one imperial kinsman whose attitude was "not good." He assigned Asaka to Nanking as an opportunity to make amends.[29]

On December 5, Asaka left Tokyo by plane and arrived at the front three days later. Asaka met with division commanders, lieutenant-generals Kesago Nakajima and Heisuke Yanagawa, who informed him that the Japanese troops had almost completely surrounded 300,000 Chinese troops in the vicinity of Nanking and that preliminary negotiations suggested that the Chinese were ready to surrender.[30]

Prince Asaka allegedly issued an order to "kill all captives," thus providing official sanction for the crimes which took place during and after the battle.[31] Some authors record that Prince Asaka signed the order for Japanese soldiers in Nanking to "kill all captives"[32] Others claim that lieutenant colonel Isamu Chō, Asaka's aide-de-camp, sent this order under the Prince's sign manual without the Prince's knowledge or assent.[33] However, even if Chō took the initiative on his own, Prince Asaka, who was nominally the officer in charge, gave no orders to stop the carnage. When General Matsui arrived in the city four days after the massacre had begun, he issued strict orders that resulted in the eventual end of the massacre.

While the extent of Prince Asaka's responsibility for the massacre remains a matter of debate, the ultimate sanction for the massacre and the crimes committed during the invasion of China were issued in Emperor Hirohito's ratification of the Japanese army's proposition to remove the constraints of international law on the treatment of Chinese prisoners on August 5, 1937

Battle of Nanking

Siege of the city

The Japanese military continued to move forward, breaching the last lines of Chinese resistance, and arriving outside the walled city of Nanking on December 9.

Demand for surrender

At noon on December 9, the military dropped leaflets into the city, urging the surrender of Nanking within 24 hours, promising annihilation if refused.Meanwhile, members of the Committee contacted Tang and suggested a plan for three-day cease-fire, during which the Chinese troops could withdraw without fighting while the Japanese troops would stay in their present position. General Tang agreed with this proposal if the International Committee could acquire permission of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who had already fled to Hankow to which he had temporarily shifted the military headquarters two days earlier.

John Rabe boarded the U.S. gunboat Panay on December 9 and sent two telegrams, one to Chiang Kai-shek by way of the American ambassador in Hankow, and one to the Japanese military authority in Shanghai. The next day he was informed that Chiang Kai-shek, who had ordered that Nanking be defended "to the last man," had refused to accept the proposal.[citation needed]

Assault and capture of Nanking Pursuit and mopping-up operations

Soldiers from the Imperial Japanese Army enter Nanking in January 1938

Japanese troops pursued the retreating Chinese army units, primarily in the Xiakuan area to the north of the city walls and around the Zijin Mountain in the east. Although most sources suggest that the final phase of the battle consisted of a one-sided slaughter of Chinese troops by the Japanese, some Japanese historians maintain that the remaining Chinese military still posed a serious threat to the Japanese. Prince Yasuhiko Asaka told a war correspondent later that he was in a very perilous position when his headquarters was ambushed by Chinese forces that were in the midst of fleeing from Nanking east of the city. On the other side of the city, the 11th Company of the 45th Regiment encountered some 20,000 Chinese soldiers who were making their way from Xiakuan.[13]

The Japanese army conducted its mopping-up operation both inside and outside the Nanking Safety Zone. Since the area outside the safety zone had been almost completely evacuated, the mopping-up effort was concentrated in the safety zone. The safety zone, an area of 3.85 square kilometres, was literally packed with the remaining population of Nanking. The Japanese army leadership assigned sections of the safety zone to some units to separate alleged plain-clothed soldiers from the civilians



Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek, right, head of the Nanking government at Canton, with General Lung Yun, chairman of the Yunan provincial government in Nanking, on June 27, 1936. (AP Photo) #


On Feb. 5, 1938, A Chinese woman surveys the remains of her family, all of whom met death during Japanese occupation of Nanking, allegedly victims of atrocities at the hands of Japanese soldiers. (AP Photo) #







Why Japan Can't Compete With China


Tokyo officials are relying on retirees and aging ships to fill a temporary shortfall in coast guard manpower -- a move that reveals the broader limits of Japan's capabilities.


As China keeps extending its interests abroad, some predict that neighboring countries will form a coalition to counter it. Any of three states could take the lead on building such an alliance: India, South Korea, or Japan. Each has a different mix of technological, economic, and diplomatic power that -- when combined with the resources of other states -- might keep Beijing hemmed in, or so the theory goes.

But if there's one leading state that could be eliminated from this possibilities matrix soon, it's Japan. That's because it lacks another kind of capital -- human capital.

Japan has a population of 128 million, not even a tenth the size of China. This wouldn't be a huge problem, except that the Japanese are also a lot older: the median age there is 44.6 to China's 35.2. Even the median South Korean is much closer in age to the median Chinese than to her Japanese counterpart.

Technology can help shore up people deficits -- automation and complex electronics beget efficiency. But only to a point. Beyond that, the need for more manpower begins to eat away at Japan's technological and industrial advantages.

And it isn't as though Japan's got the shiniest infrastructure, either. Take the country's coast guard, which offers a good example of the country's limits. For the past year, Japan has been embroiled in a major territorial dispute with China over a set of islands in the East China Sea. It's the coast guard that's shouldered much of the responsibility for standing up to China in these waters. The forces arranged on either side are tenuously balanced -- for now. But looking ahead, Tokyo officials worrythey won't have enough ships to defend what they know as the Senkaku islands (or what the Chinese call the Diaoyu islands):

While [Japan's] coast guard has 51 patrol ships that are 1,000 tons or more, China already has 40 such vessels, and is making progress on converting old warships for use in patrols, in addition to building new ones. The concern for Japan is that China may quickly overtake its coast guard in the numbers of large-scale ships patrolling the East China Sea.

The natural response is to build more boats. But that'll take time -- not to mention more men. All told, it'll be about five years before the 150 new seamen and four new patrol ships Japan's ordered will be ready for service.

Japan doesn't have a half-decade to wait around. So commanders have whipped up an emergency solution: They'll bring 10 ships out of mothballs -- all of which are a quarter-century old or more -- that would otherwise be turned into scrap metal. Even better, they're going to be crewed by old people.

Okay, that's unfair. We probably aren't talking about senior citizens manning the deck guns like Peter Berg made them do in Battleship; many of these "retirees" likely ended their service at a relatively young age. Even so, the case reveals some of Japan's long-term challenges. Put simply, we're talking about a fully developed country that's approaching the limits of its human resources. This is a problem for Japan that is neither new nor going away: over the next 50 years, its population is expected to contract by another 30 percent.

Japan's existing capabilities make it a strong candidate to lead a counter-China coalition right now. But with each passing year, the country falls further behind.

China is most countries "largest trading partner" because it is currently the world's factory. Most of this trade is from goods made in China. Keep in mind, as Chinese wage increases, SE Asian nations like Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines are increasingly becoming area where factories are escaping to find cheaper sources of labour.

China's loss are these Asian nation's gain. Filipino president, Aquino, was recently courting Japanese companies that have been escaping from Chinese manufacturing due to anti-Japanese sentiment.

As far as "containment" of China. With America's "pivot" towards Asia, you would see that other Asian nations are increasingly binding together (and to America) to counter-balance Chinese-influence in Asia. They are binding together to fight Chinese territorial claims, which is the basis for the multilateral approach that the ASEAN nations are building.

We've also seen countries like Vietnam and the Philippines asking the Japanese to take a larger military role in Asia (countries that have suffered from Japanese WWII aggression) . The Japanese are preparing to sell subs and boats to them (as well as Australia). Basically, equipment to fight China.

Regardless of how China sees Japan from 70 years ago, Japan is a country that have been in 0 wars, invaded 0 countries, and been in 0 military conflicts since then.

The same cannot be said of China, which has invaded Tibet, has gone to war with Taiwan, which has been at war with India, fought the Russians, in military conflicts with Vietnam and Philippines in the last decade. Supported dictatorships in N. Korea, Myanmar, and Iran. And now calls large swaths of Asia their own based on vassal state statuses from the Ming Dynasty.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hold on the populace (especially the middle class portion) is not predicated on brutal totalitarianism for the most part. Instead, it's a velvet-glove authoritarianism that allows most Chinese people practically all the economic freedoms afforded to most in the West in exchange for making politics and government a verboten topic of inquiry. For most apolitical Chinese, this quid pro quo worked (and still works) because the stable political environment built and nurtured by the CCP allowed for the double-digit economic growth that has a) been sustained for almost 30 years, b) has lifted hundreds of millions from absolute poverty, and c) has given China the economic heft to become a great, respected, and feared nation. To most Chinese, that litany of positive outcomes is good enough to sustain the legitimacy of the CCP as the rightful institution to rule over China. And despite this quid pro quo, some Chinese people, especially netizens, are far from servile. They write up exposes, conduct independent investigations, and pressure the government through mass public opinion drives to follow its own (rather progressive) laws that are on the books or to establish new laws when a scandal threatens public safety. The Chinese, in other words, are not pushovers. And the CCP, which placates them far more than represses them, knows this all too well.

Other than the heavy hand of bureaucracy, and the endless duplication of petty bureaucratic hierarchies this tends to foster, the place runs rather smooth. One of the things for which China rightly deserves opprobrium and condemnation is in its treatment of minorities. The Chinese as a whole (or at least the Han ethnicity majority, who control everything in China) are terribly racist. The last things on their mind are how minorities, such as the Tibetans and the Uyghurs, are being denied their human rights. Since the Han represent close to 95% of the total population of China, they really don't much care or mind if others who are non-Han are being economically and/or politically excluded or repressed. They think of themselves as naturally superior and all other minorities as naturally inferior. Their notion of ethnic relations is still literally stuck in the 19th century eugenic/Social Darwinism that gripped European and North American societies. The Chinese Communist Party simply reflects this reality, and responds accordingly.

Suffice to say, Japan is not any different. The Japanese polity is sickly, with all the corruption and stasis that has prevented it from radically reforming institutions that still hobble its society and economy. The Japanese are also equally as racist as the Chinese, still treating immigrants and outsiders with contempt. For example, Japanese of Korean descent, some now in the 5th or 6th generation in Japan, are still denied citizenship. So please spare me the pro-Japan angle. The Japanese are just as bad in some respects as the Chinese.File:Kitakojima and Minamikojima of Senkaku Islands.jpg

The territorial dispute between China and Japan over the East China Sea Islands escalated today as two Chinese patrol ships arrived near the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The Beijing-sent vessels are a display of China’s outrage over Tokyo's £16.4m purchase of the largely barren islands from their private owners last week. The quarrel over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan, has been heating up in recent months after the governor of Tokyo proposed buying the islands and developing them.

Senkaku or Diaoyu: The islands in the East China Sea have long been the centre of a China-Japan dispute but has escalated after Japan's purchase

Senkaku or Diaoyu: The islands in the East China Sea have long been the centre of a dispute between China and Japan which has escalated after the latter's purchase this week

Swift response: IN reaction to the news of the Japanese central government's £16.4m purchase of the largely barren islands from their private owner, Beijing sent two patrol boats to the area

Swift response: In reaction to the news of the Japanese central government's £16.4m purchase of the largely barren islands from their private owner, Beijing sent two patrol boats to the area. But Japan's central government announced its own deal this week with the Japanese family it recognizes as the owner.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters the government budgeted 2.05 billion yen (£16.4 million) for the purchase ‘to maintain the Senkakus peacefully and stably.’The central government does not plan to develop the islands, going against Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s plans.

‘Ishihara put the national government in a very difficult spot. He pushed them into doing this now,’ said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.


But she said this was a ‘good outcome’ as Japan cannot afford to let the dispute hinder its vital ties with China, its top trading partner.

Ms Smith said Tokyo needs to be able to work through problems with Beijing in order to maintain that trade serves both nations

But Beijing sees the purchase as an affront to its claims and its past calls for negotiations and, despite Tokyo’s attempts to calm the dispute, responded with fury.

Tokyo Mayor Shintaro Ishihara talks to the media after reports China had purchased the islands

Property of Japan: Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has previously said that he wants to see the islands developed

‘The determination and the will of the Chinese government and military to safeguard their territorial integrity are firm,’ Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement.

‘We are closely monitoring the development of the situation and reserve the right to take necessary measures.’

Carlyle Thayer, an expert on regional security at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said the sending of the Chinese patrol boats ‘ups the stakes’ although it is unlikely that the Chinese boats would go within the 12 nautical miles around the islands that are considered Japanese territorial waters.

‘It's a tit-for-tat response because China is extremely sensitive about sovereignty matters,’ he said.

Japan's coast guard said it has not taken any special measures in response to the Chinese patrol boats although it continues to monitor the situation.

'Japan has a pretty robust navy, a very strong and active professional coast guard. It's all posturing. It's a game of who blinks first,’ Thayer said.

Beijing's anger has been accompanied by heated reporting in China's state media with a commentator in the People's Liberation Army Daily called Japan's move ‘the most blatant challenge to China's sovereignty since the end of World War II.’

China on Tuesday also started broadcasting a daily marine weather report for the islands.

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing chanting, ’Japan, get out of China.’

The protests have spread, with a number of people waving placards and the Chinese flag and shouted ‘Defend the Diaoyu Islands’ outside the Japanese Consulate General in southern Guangzhou and about 200 people marched in Weihai in Shandong province, singing the national anthem, local media reported.

Rising tensions: Protesters in Hangzhou, China, hold placards and banners at a demonstration against Japan's claim of the disputed islands

Rising tensions: Protesters in Hangzhou, China, hold placards and banners at a demonstration against Japan's claim of the disputed islands last month

Top Japanese government officials maintain that the flare-up hasn't affected official ties with China, although Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada acknowledged that emotions on both sides were being fanned by activists.

China also has announced coordinates marking out the waters off the Diaoyu Islands that it considers its territory.

The coordinates are another step, along with recent announcements of China's intention to use law enforcement vessels, to defend its sovereignty claim, said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, northeast Asia project director for the International Crisis Group.

‘It's primarily about being seen as taking action to pave the way for further actions to assert China's sovereignty,’ she said.


In Tokyo, Gov. Ishihara renewed his calls for the islands to be developed for future use by fishermen.

‘It appears that the matter is decided,‘ he told reporters. ‘They say they won't do anything, but China's leaders are still criticizing the plan."

Ishihara said he was freezing the 1.4 billion yen (£11.2 million) donated toward his purchase plan for the islands and would only release the funds to the government once it was clear whether a port or other facilities would be built.

He also suggested that Japan cooperate with the Philippines and Vietnam, which also have disputes with China in the South China Sea.

‘We shouldn't see this as an issue that only concerns Japan,’ he said.

Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The U.S. took jurisdiction after World War II and turned them over to Japan in 1972.

Land grab: The protests in China came after Japanese activists swam to the islands and raised their national flag on the disputed territory

Land grab: The protests in China came after Japanese activists swam to the islands and raised their national flag on the disputed territory

Disputed: A Japanese activist waves the country's flag after landing on a group of islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese

Disputed: A Japanese activist waves the country's flag after landing on a group of islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.



Japan accuses China of encroaching in its waters after three ships closed-in on disputed islands

Tensions between Japan and China deepened this week as a territorial row over a group of disputed island intensified. Japan lodged an official protest after three Chinese ships entered, what it considers to be, their territorial waters in the East China Sea. The move has prompted renewed efforts to cool tensions between the rivals in a long-running feud over ownership of the islands.

Latest flare-up: Japan Coast Guard vessels with a Chinese surveillance ship near the disputed islands

Latest flare-up: Japan Coast Guard vessels with a Chinese surveillance ship near the disputed islands

Rocky relations: The Senkaku islands on the East China Sea which Japan, China and Taiwan all claim ownership of

Rocky relations: The Senkaku islands on the East China Sea which Japan, China and Taiwan all claim ownership of

A map showing the location of the disputed islands in relation to south east Asia

The ongoing row threatening relations between Asia's biggest economies could further be complicated by Taiwan - which also claims ownership of the rocky isles.

A group of Taiwanese fishermen said as many as 100 boats escorted by 10 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels would arrive in the area later on Monday.

China's Xinhua news agency said in the morning that two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a 'rights defence' patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships. One fishery patrol vessel was also detected inside waters claimed by Japan.

By afternoon, all three Chinese vessels had moved further away, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

China and Japan, which generated two-way trade of $345 billion last year, are arguing over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, a long-standing dispute that has erupted in recent weeks.  Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japanese government decided to buy some of the islands - called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - from a private Japanese owner.

The move, which infuriated Beijing, was intended by Japan's government to fend off what it feared would be seen as an even more provocative plan by the nationalist governor of Tokyo to buy and build facilities on the islands.

In response, China sent six surveillance ships to the area, which contains potentially large gas reserves.

There were scenes of violent disorder as anti-Japan protests erupted in China.

Japanese factories were forced to temporarily close in China and expatriate workers advised to stay indoors after angry demonstrations spilled on to the streets.

There were violent attacks on well-known Japanese businesses in China, such as car-makers Toyota and Honda, in the country's worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades.

Activists protest against China in Tokyo as the territorial row over the islands intensifies

Activists protest against China in Tokyo as the territorial row over the islands intensifies

A demonstration in China. The long-standing dispute erupted when the Japanese government bought some of the islands from a private Japanese owner

A demonstration in China. The long-standing dispute erupted when the Japanese government bought some of the islands from a private Japanese owner

Two Japan Coast Guard boats, centre and right in foreground, sail ahead of a fleet of Chinese surveillance ships near the islands

Two Japan Coast Guard boats, centre and right in foreground, sail ahead of a fleet of Chinese surveillance ships near the islands

China's Xinhua news agency said of this latest development in the ongoing row: 'In recent days, Japan has constantly provoked incidents concerning the Diaoyu islands issue, gravely violating China's territorial sovereignty.'

It added that the ship patrols were intended to exercise China's 'administrative jurisdiction' over the islands.

It said: 'Following the relevant laws of the People's Republic of China, (the ships) again carried out a regular rights defence patrol in our territorial waters around the Diaoyu islands.'

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China's memories of Japan's military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s and present rivalry over regional influence and resources.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai will visit China on Monday to discuss Sino-Japanese relations with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, the Foreign Ministry said.

The arrival of Taiwan vessels in the area could complicate the potentially fraught game of cat-and-mouse being played near the islands, where mainland China has launched an effort to assert sovereignty by sending government ships into the disputed waters.

Taiwan television showed the boats leaving Suao port in heavy rain, sporting banners and large Taiwan flags.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China

Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China

The islands have long been the target of demonstrators. This image, taken last month, shows a boat of activists pinned into submission by Japan's coast guard patrol

The islands have long been the target of demonstrators. This image, taken last month, shows a boat of activists pinned into submission by Japan's coast guard patrol

The Taiwan fishing group said their boats would sail around the islands to reassert their right to fish there and did not rule out trying to land on the rocky isles.

Taiwan Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu told parliament that the military was ready for any contingency, but did not elaborate.

Taiwan has traditionally had friendly ties with Japan, but the two countries have long squabbled over fishing rights in the area. Beijing deems Taiwan to be an illegitimate breakaway province, and the two sides both argue they have inherited China's historic sovereignty over the islands, which are near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge oil and gas reserves.

The latest flare-up in tensions over the islands comes at a time when both China and Japan confront domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China's Communist Party is preoccupied with a leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down as party leader at a congress that could open as soon as next month.

Noda leaves for New York on Monday to take part in the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly, and attention will focus on whether he refers to the dispute.

Worries are simmering that the row could hurt the economic ties that closely bind China and Japan. China is Japan's largest trading partner. In 2011, their bilateral trade grew 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion.

Tokyo's Nikkei China 50 index, composed of stocks of Japanese companies with significant exposure to the world's second-largest economy, shed about 1.3 percent on concerns over the dispute.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Japanese car manufacturers saw a 90 percent drop in showroom traffic and a 60 percent fall in sales in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, the largest market for Japanese brands, since the beginning of the anti-Japan protests


Pinnacle Islands, are a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.

After it was discovered in 1968 that oil reserves might be found under the sea near the islands,[4] Japan's sovereignty over them has been disputed by the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China(ROC, commonly known as Taiwan) following the transfer of administration from the United States to Japan in 1971. The Chinese claim the discovery and control of the islands from the 14th century. Japan controlled the islands from 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II. The United States administered them as part of theUnited States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945 until 1972, when the islands reverted to Japanese control under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty between the United States and Japan.

The islands are an issue in foreign relations between Japan and the PRC and between Japan and the ROC.[6]Despite the complexity of relations between the PRC and ROC, both governments agree that the islands are part of Taiwan as part of Toucheng Township in Yilan County of their respective divisions. Japan does not officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state,[3] and regards the islands as a part of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture and acknowledges neither the claims of the PRC nor ROC to the islands. The Japanese government has not allowed Ishigaki to develop the islands.

Records of these islands date back to as early as the 15th century. They were referred as Diaoyu in books such as Voyage with a Tail Wind (simplified Chinese: 顺风相送; traditional Chinese: 順風相送; pinyin: Shùnfēng Xiāngsòng) (1403) [7] and Record of the Imperial Envoy's Visit to Ryūkyū (simplified Chinese: 使琉球录; traditional Chinese: 使琉球錄; pinyin: Shĭ Liúqiú Lù) (1534). Adopted by the Chinese Imperial Map of the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese name for the island group (Diaoyu) and the Japanese name for the main island (Uotsuri) both mean "fishing".

The first published description of the islands in Europe was in a book imported by Isaac Titsingh in 1796. His small library of Japanese books included Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説 An Illustrated Description of Three Countries?) by Hayashi Shihei.[8] This text, which was published in Japan in 1785, described the Ryūkyū Kingdom.[9] In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation.

The first reference to the islands in a book published in English was Edward Belcher's 1848 account of the voyages of HMS Sammarang.[11] Captain Belcher observed that "the names assigned in this region have been too hastily admitted."[12] Belcher reported anchoring off Pinnacle Island in March 1845.

In 1870s and 1880s, the English name Pinnacle Islands was used by the British navy for the rocks adjacent to the largest island Uotsuri-jima/Diaoyu Dao (then called Hoa-pin-su, 和平屿, "Peace Island"); Kuba-jima/Huangwei Yu (then called Ti-a-usu); and Taishō-jima/Chiwei Yu.[14] The name "Pinnacle Islands" is used by some as an English-language equivalent to "Senkaku" or "Diaoyu".[15]

One islet of the group – Uotsuri

The collective use of the name "Senkaku" to denote the entire group began with the advent of the controversy in the 1970s.

Japanese and US control

Japanese workers at a bonito fishery processing plant on Uotsuri-jima sometime around 1910. The Japanese central government formally annexed the islands on 14 January 1895. Around 1900, Japanese entrepreneur Koga Tatsushirō (古賀 辰四郎?) constructed abonito processing plant on the islands with 200 workers. The business failed in 1940 and the islands have remained deserted ever since.[17] In the 1970s, Koga Tatsushirō's son Zenji Koga and Zenji's wife Hanako sold four islets to the Kurihara family of Saitama Prefecture. Kunioki Kurihara[18] owned Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima. Kunioki's sister owns Kuba.[19]

The islands came under US government occupation in 1945 after the surrender of Japan ended World War II.[17] In 1969, theUnited Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands.[20] In 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Treaty passed the U.S. Senate, returning the islands to Japanese control in 1972.[21] Also in 1972, the Taiwanese and Chinese governments officially began to declare ownership of the islands.[22]

Since the islands reverted to Japanese government control in 1972, the mayor of Ishigaki has been given civic authority over the territory. The Japanese central government, however, has prohibited Ishigaki from surveying or developing the islands.[17][23] In 1979 an official delegation from the Japanese government composed of 50 academics, government officials from the Foreign and Transport ministries, officials from the now-defunct Okinawa Development Agency, and Hiroyuki Kurihara, visited the islands and camped on Uotsuri for about four weeks. The delegation surveyed the local ecosystem, finding moles and sheep, studied the local marine life, and examined whether the islands would support human habitation.

From 2002 to 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications paid the Kurihara family ¥25 million a year to rent Uotsuri, Minami-Kojima and Kita-Kojima. Japan'sMinistry of Defense rents Kuba island for an undisclosed amount. Kuba is used by the U.S. military as a practice aircraft bombing range. Japan's central government completely owns Taisho island.

On 17 December 2010, Ishigaki declared January 14 as "Pioneering Day" to commemorate Japan's 1895 annexation of the Senkaku Islands. China condemned Ishigaki's actions.[25] In 2012, both the Tokyo Metropolitan and Japanese central governments announced plans to negotiate purchase of Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima from the Kurihara family.[19]

On 11 September 2012, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minamikojima, Kitakojima, and Uotsuri islands by purchasing them from the Kurihara family for ¥2.05 billion.[22][26] China's Foreign Ministry objected saying Beijing would not "sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated.

A long-standing conflict over the sovereignty of a group of eight tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea has resulted in dozens of anti-Japanese protests across China, some violent. The dispute came to a head after the Japanese government nationalized control of three of the largest islands earlier this month, purchasing them from a private Japanese family for more than US$25 million. The island group is called Senkaku Islands by the Japanese, Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese, Tiaoyutai Islands by Taiwanese, or the Pinnacle Islands by English speakers. Beyond national pride, potentially large gas reserves and fishing rights have raised the stakes, and China is now moving to assert its claim to the islands, contain the demonstrations at home, and respond forcefully to what it sees as a major Japanese provocation.

An anti-Japan protester tears Japanese Rising Sun Flag during a rally outside the Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong as they demanded that the Japanese government release Chinese activists arrested in Japan after landing on Uotsuri Island, one of the islands of Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea, in this June 19, 2011 photo. Uotsuri is the largest of the island group, with an area of 4.32 square kilometers.(Reuters/Kyodo) #


Thousands of Chinese protesters take part in a demonstration in Chengdu, Sichuan province against Japan's claim of the Diaoyu islands, as they are known in Chinese, or Senkaku islands in Japanese, on August 19, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Chinese demonstrators stage an anti-Japanese protest over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, China, on September 15, 2012. There were protests in many major cities in China, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Hangzhou, Harbin, Qingdao and Hong Kong. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #


Officers stand guard as people shout slogans and hold Chinese flags during an anti-Japanese protest over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, on September 15, 2012. Hundreds of people protested in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday amid rising tensions over disputed East China Sea islands as police struggled to quell the angry demonstration.(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) #


Chinese demonstrators clash with policemen at barricades during an anti-Japanese protests outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, on Saturday, September 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


Demonstrators damage a window on a Japanese Seibu department store during a protest against Japan's decision to purchase the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, on September 16, 2012. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #


A demonstrator swings an iron bar to smash goods at a Japanese-funded shopping center during a protest in Qingdao, Shandong province, on September 15, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Carts are piled up in a damaged area of a Japanese JUSCO department store after a group of Chinese protesters ransacked it, in Qingdao, northeast China's Shandong province, on September 15, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Anti-Japanese protesters are confronted by police as they demonstrate over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on September 16, 2012 in Shenzhen, China. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images) #


Police walk past a closed Japanese restaurant covered with Chinese national flags as anti-Japanese protests continued outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands issue, on September 17, 2012. The mouthpiece of China's Communist Party warned on on September 17 that Japan's economy could suffer for up to 20 years if Beijing chose to impose sanctions over the escalating territorial row. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #


Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's PC3 surveillance plane flies around the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, on October 13, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #


The city government of Tokyo's survey staff sail around the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, on September 2, 2012. The city government of Tokyo sent a ship to survey the group of disputed islands, as it considered purchasing them. (Reuters/Kyodo) #


Activists burn Japanese flags during a demonstration over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, outside the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong, on September 16, 2012. (Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images) #


An anti-Japanese protester throws a gas canister during a demonstration on September 16, 2012 in Shenzhen, China. Protests have taken place across China in the dispute that is becoming increasingly worrying for regional stability. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images) #


A Chinese man holds a national flag during a protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, on August 15, 2012.(AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


Riot police block protesters from accessing the American consulate during a protest against Japan's decision to purchase the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, in Chengdu, on September 16, 2012. Torrid protests against Japan broke out in Chinese cities for a second day on Sunday, prompting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to urge Beijing to protect his country's companies and diplomatic buildings from fresh assaults. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #


A view from the Tokyo city government's survey ship of one of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on September 2, 2012. The Tokyo city government rented a nearly 2,500 ton survey vessel to take 25 experts around the islands to determine how they could be used if bought.(Reuters/Chris Meyers) #


A boat, center, is surrounded by Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats after Chinese activists descended from the boat to land on Uotsuri Island, one of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea Wednesday, August 15, 2012.(AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Masataka Morita) #


Activists holding Chinese and Taiwanese flags are arrested by Japanese police officers after landing on Uotsuri Island, one of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea, on August 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Masataka Morita) #


Onlookers view a large protest banner at the Silk Street market, which is famous for selling counterfeit designer brand goods, as anti-Japanese protests continue in Beijing over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands issue, on September 17, 2012.(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #


Members of a Japanese nationalist group land on Uotsuri island, part of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on August 19, 2012. Several Japanese nationalists landed on on the rocky island in the East China Sea at the heart of a territorial row with Beijing, sparking protests in several Chinese cities and a diplomatic rebuke from Beijing. (Reuters/Chris Meyers) #


Unidentified members from a Japanese nationalist group and local assembly members are seen after landing on a Uotsuri island, part of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on August 19, 2012. (Reuters/Kyodo) #


People hold banners and shout slogans as they attend a rally to protest against Japan's claim on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, on August 19, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


An activist waves a burning Japan-US combined flag during a demonstration over a group of disputed islands, as people make their way to the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong, on September 16, 2012. (Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images) #


Officers stand guard as people hold Chinese flags and banners during an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese embassy, on September 15, 2012. Hundreds of people protested in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing on September 15 amid rising tensions over disputed East China Sea islands as police struggled to quell the angry demonstration. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #


A Chinese paramilitary policeman is hit by a traffic cone as he tries to hold back protesters from storming the Japanese embassy in Beijing, China, on Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #


An anti-Japanese protester bleeds from the nose as riot police look on, during a demonstration over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on September 16, 2012 in Shenzhen, China. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images) #


Chinese protesters kick barricades during an anti-Japan protest outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, on Sept. 15, 2012.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #


Chinese demonstrators stage an anti-Japanese protest over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, outside the Japanese Embassy, on September 15, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #


A Chinese riot policeman shields himself from eggs and water bottles thrown by protesters during an anti-Japanese protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, on September 15, 2012. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images) #


A protester throws a police helmet to the ground as fellow demonstrators take pictures during an anti-Japan protest in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on September 16, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Water splashes from a bottle thrown by a demonstrator at the main entrance gate of Japanese Embassy during a protest in Beijing, on September 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


A Chinese paramilitary policeman reacts as a giant Chinese national flag is pulled by protesters towards the Japanese embassy in Beijing, China, on September 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #


A Chinese demonstrator jumps and kicks a fence set up by paramilitary policemen during an anti-Japan protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, on September 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


A paramilitary policeman guards an entrance of the Japanese Embassy, eggs and paint splattered on its wall, in Beijing, China, on September 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

It looks like an aircraft carrier, it sounds like an aircraft carrier... but the Japanese are adamant their biggest ship since WW2 is a 'flat-topped destroyer'

  • Japan launches 250m destroyer Izumo which it says will be used for defence
  • Critics claim the large flat-topped ship can function as aircraft carrier
  • Country is banned from warfare thanks to post-WW2 pacifist constitution
  • But prime minister is keen to strike a more aggressive stance against China

Japan has been accused of ignoring its policy of self-defence after launching its largest warship since the end of the Second World War as the government faces down China over a disputed chain of islands.

The new ship is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters at once - but Japanese officials insist it is not an aircraft carrier and will not be used to launch military jets. The 250m vessel, named 'Izumo', is officially labelled a destroyer, although it has a flat top which functions as a flight deck like that on an aircraft carrier. The country is officially banned from all military actions apart from self-defence and humanitarian aid under the terms of the constitution imposed on it by the U.S. after the Second World War.

New ship: The destroyer Izumo is Japan's largest boat since the end of World War II

New ship: The destroyer Izumo is Japan's largest boat since the end of World War II

Flat-topped: But officials insist the ship is not an aircraft carrier and will not be used to launch planes

Flat-topped: But officials insist the ship is not an aircraft carrier and will not be used to launch planes. Japan unveils its latest helicopter destroyer

Its 'Peace Constitution' , which was designed by Allied leaders, followed Japan's involvement in the Second World War which included the devastating attack on US naval base Pearl Harbour in 1941.

This eventually led to the U.S. dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, which brought about  Japan's surrender and the end of the war in 1945. Officials say the new ship will be used to defend Japan and deliver personnel and supplies to areas hit by natural disasters, such as the devastating 2011 earthquake. Japan's conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe is keen to change the constitution to allow the country to maintain a standing army for the first time in seven decades. The unveiling of the new destroyer - which has been under development since 2009 - also coincides with a dispute between Japan and China over a chain of tiny islands in the South China Sea. The two countries conduct regular patrols of the waters around the islands, which are called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

Celebration: The ship was launched today with a large ceremony in the port of Yokohama

Celebration: The ship was launched today with a large ceremony in the port of Yokohama

Military: Many in Japan are pressing to amend the pacifist constitution to allow the country to go to war


China reacted with alarm to the news of Izumo's launch and accused the Japanese government of aggressive intent towards other countries. 'We express our concern at Japan's constant expansion of its military equipment,' a spokesman for China's defence ministry told AFP. 'This trend is worthy of high vigilance by Japan's Asian neighbours and the international community. 'Japan should learn from history, adhere to its policy of self-defence and abide by its promise of taking the road of peaceful development.'


Japan's constitution, known as the Peace Constitution, is most famous for the renunciation of the right to wage war. It was drawn up under the Allied occupation which followed World War II and was intended to replace Japan's previous militaristic and absolute monarchy system with liberal democracy.  Japan was responsible for drawing the U.S. into World War II after it launched a surprise attack on the U.S naval base Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Grim: This shows the devastation caused by an U.S. nuclear bomb being dropped on Hiroshima in 1945

Grim: This shows the devastation caused by a U.S. nuclear bomb being dropped on Hiroshima in 1945

The attack was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia, which included overseas territories of the UK, Netherlands, and the United States.

The conflict escalated massively when the U.S dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

On fire: This shows a U.S. warship burning after the surprise Japanese attack on U.S base Pearl Harbour in 1941

On fire: This shows a U.S. warship burning after the surprise Japanese attack on U.S base Pearl Harbour in 1941, This led to the surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945 and brought the hostilities of World War II to a close.Japan's constitution  was enacted on  May 3, 1947.Tokyo's ties with Beijing chilled sharply last year after the Japanese government bought the rocky islands - known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China -  in the East China Sea.The islands are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.The United States says the islets fall under a U.S.-Japan security pact, but Washington is keen to avoid a clash in the economically vital region.

Many people in Japan have called for beefed-up naval and air forces to enable the country to enforce its territorial claims against China, which recently began operating an aircraft carrier purchased from Russia and is planning to build another.

Popular: A conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has led to more aggressive sentiments

Popular: A conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has led to more aggressive sentiments

Streamers: The boat will supposedly be used for Japan's self-defence and humanitarian missions

Streamers: The boat will supposedly be used for Japan's self-defence and humanitarian missions. Japan has one of the best equipped and trained navies in the Pacific, despite the constitutional restrictions on its deployment. The new destroyer could potentially be used launch fighter jets, or other aircraft which can take off vertically, although officials insist they have no plans to do so. The Izumo does not have a catapult for launching fighters, or a 'ski-jump' ramp for fixed-wing aircraft. It bears the same name as an armoured cruiser which was in operation between 1900 and 1945.

Danger? China has warned Japan against building up its military capabilities in the South China Sea

Danger? China has warned Japan against building up its military capabilities in the South China Sea. The association with a vessel from the most aggressive period of Japan's imperial past could strengthen the impression that it is designed as a move towards militarisation. The original Izumo fought against Russia in the 1904-5 battle for dominance of north-east Asia, and was also involved in the Japanese invasion of China during the build-up to the Second World War.


Hunt for China's secret nukes: Obama orders the Pentagon to find ways to 'neutralize' store of up to 3,000 nuclear weapons

The United States military will need to consider conventional as well as nuclear means to ‘neutralize’ China’s underground nuclear weapons storage facilities, according to a Pentagon authorization signed into law this month.

The new National Defense Authorization Act, which President Barack Obama signed on Tuesday, January 2, orders the head of the U.S. Strategic Command to submit a report by August 15 on the ‘underground tunnel network used by the People’s Republic of China.’

That report must include information on ‘capability of the United States to use conventional and nuclear forces to neutralize such tunnels and what is stored within such tunnels.’

New means: The U.S. military must consider both conventional and nuclear capabilities to 'neutralize' China's underground nuclear weapons storage facilities, according to a Pentagon authorization signed into law

New means: The U.S. military must consider both conventional and nuclear capabilities to 'neutralize' China's underground nuclear weapons storage facilities, according to a Pentagon authorization signed into law. The news was reported by Gannett’s Defense News on Monday. A Georgetown University team led by Professor Phillip Karber, a former Defense Department strategist, conducted a three-year study to analyse and map out China’s complex tunnel system, which extends 3,000 miles. The university’s 2011 report, ‘Strategic Implications of China’s Underground Great Wall,’ concluded that the number of nuclear weapons estimated by U.S. intelligence was incorrect. U.S. intelligence estimates have put the number of nuclear warheads that China has in its storage facilities, at most, at 300. Karber’s team estimated that there may be as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden within a extensive underground network in multiple locations throughout the large Asian country. NDAA sections 1045, 1271 and 3119 highlight U.S. congressional concerns over China’s nuclear and military modernization efforts, according to Defense News. Bonnie Glaser, a specialist on China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she doubts that those NDAA sections will have any major impact on policy in regards to U.S.-China relations. ‘The intelligence community tracks China’s nuclear weapons closely — is a federally funded research and development center going to find a new threat?,’ she told a Gannett reporter. Glaser said she believes the new reporting requirements signed by Obama are a reaction to Karber’s research, which makes him one of a few challengers suggesting that U.S. intelligence estimates are incorrect. Karber is taking little credit for the latest NDAA requirements, which some have begun calling the ‘Karber effect.’ ‘I believe a number of events, not least of which being Chinese testing and deployment patterns, have motivated this tasking, and I will leave to others to assess what part our research played in stimulating or adding motivation to it,’ he said.

New findings: A Georgetown University team estimated that there may be as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden within a extensive underground network in multiple locations throughout the large Asian country

New findings: A Georgetown University team estimated that there may be as many as 3,000 nuclear weapons hidden within a extensive underground network in multiple locations throughout the large Asian country

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