19:56 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Japan's Deepening Military Ties With US Threaten Tokyo's Future – Officer

    © REUTERS / Jason Lee
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    Japan's future could be in jeopardy following an announcement in late April that Tokyo and Washington intend to deepen military ties by revising their guidelines, underpinning the US-Japanese defense alliance.

    This warning was voiced by an unnamed high-ranking officer of the People's Liberation Army during a meeting with a group of senior Japanese politicians, a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Japan Times.

    "Japan will have no future if it only follows the United States," a source quoted the PLA officer, working at the China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS), as saying.

    The CIISS is a think tank tasked with offering policy advice to the Chinese government and the military based on the analysis of global affairs, China's national security and economic matters.

    The officer criticized Tokyo and Washington for perceiving China as a "threat," the source mentioned. He also emphasized that Beijing's growing role in the region would benefit Tokyo and help develop bilateral relations between the two leading economies in Asia.

    The delegation, headed by Masahiko Komura of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, spoke to the CIISS experts last week. Komura declined to specify what the two parties discussed following the talks but said that the conversation was "very frank," as per the media outlet.

    The revised guidelines reflect the shift to a more assertive role the Japanese armed forces could and aspire to play in the world, as well as Washington's backing thereof.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long advocated for expanding Japan's military capabilities. Last year, Tokyo introduced a substantial change to its post-World War pacifist constitution by lifting the ban on exercising collective self-defense. According to the new interpretation, Japan can assist its close allies should they come under attack.

    China views the latest developments as a change that could affect regional balance of power and an initiative targeted against Beijing amid rising tensions over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, claimed by both Asian nations.

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    Tags:
    the Joint Defense Guidelines, defense cooperation, military cooperation, geopolitics, Asia-Pacific, China, Japan, United States
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