Entitled "Defense of Japan 2016," the new report outlines Tokyo’s defense priorities for the coming year, and chief among its concerns is China’s growth in the Pacific.
"There has…been a noticeable trend among neighboring countries to modernize and reinforce their military capabilities and to intensify their military activities," the report reads.
In particular, it points to Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, "where the Hague-based Court of Arbitration recently ruled against China’s territorial claims. Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling as valid, and aims to follow through with its land reclamation projects in the region.
"China is poised to fulfill its unilateral demands without compromise," the report reads, adding that this could result in "unintentional consequences."
The Chinese Defense Ministry has criticized the report for hyping an already tense situation.
"China’s military is extremely dissatisfied with this and resolutely opposed to it," it said in a statement.
The United States and its Pacific allies, including Japan, have expressed concern over Beijing’s construction of artificial island in the South China Sea, claiming they will used to establish an air defense zone. China maintains it has every right to build within its own territory and that the islands will be used primarily for humanitarian purposes.
The Pentagon has carried out a number of aggressive naval and air force patrols near these projects, and vows to continue to do so in the wake of the Hague ruling. Washington has also conducted joint military exercises with regional partners, including Japan, which has rolled back key provisions of its pacifist constitution,” the 2015 report read.
Tokyo’s defense report from the previous year made similar claims about Beijing’s intent.
"Nevertheless, in the waters and airspace in the periphery of Japan, especially the East China Sea and the South China Sea, it has become increasingly common for countries to unilaterally assert their rights or take actions, based on their unique assertions which are incompatible with the existing international law and order.
"This has caused situations of undue infringement upon such principles."
Neither the United States nor Japan have any territorial claims in the South China Sea.