China think tank accuses Japan of preparing for war

Recent increases in the frequency of Japanese military exercises suggest that the country is preparing for war, a think tank with close ties to China's military said in a report released Wednesday.

"Island landing" and other readiness drills conducted by Japan's Self-Defense Forces "are not only provocative and confrontational, but also meant for war preparedness," the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association said in its third annual report on Tokyo's military capabilities.

The report, which reviews Japan's military strategy in 2013, added that the increase in exercises with the United States and other countries is especially notable in the context of ongoing disputes between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu in China.

"Japan's military buildup is clearly targeted against China," the report says, taking to task the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for exaggerating the potential for conflict with China and "resorting to the use of force to tackle disputes with China."

The authors do not, however, provide any examples of the latter claim.

This year's report takes a noticeably tougher tone against Japan than the previous version, a change that is consistent with a general hardening of Chinese rhetoric against the country following the Abe administration's decision this month to loosen restrictions on the military's use of force outside the country.

The report also makes seemingly tongue-in-cheek attempts at conflating Japanese security and economic policies.

The "three arrows" of Abe's security policy intentionally stir up "China threat," it says, referring to a popular nickname for the administration's economic revitalization strategy.

The report refers to Japan's moves to ease restrictions on military exports as "quantitative easing," a term associated mostly with monetary policy.

The association, which also produces an annual assessment of U.S. military power, was founded in 2011 and published its first reports as a tit-for-tat response to similar evaluations of China made by the United States and Japan.

State-run newspaper the People's Daily published last year's papers in their entirety online.

The reports are intended to give the United States and Japan a "taste of his own medicine," according to remarks on the association's website attributed to its hawkish vice president, retired Chinese Major Gen. Luo Yuan.