Japan’s latest Defense White Paper described Chinese activities in the East China Sea as a “relentless” attempt to change the status quo.
True enough, but China’s pressure on the Senkakus has been ongoing for eight years. By moving slowly – in passive-aggressive fashion – the Chinese gave the GOJ a welcome excuse to avoid taking on the Chinese threat. Tokyo could convince itself that the Chinese weren’t really serious – and might stop.
Instead, it was enough to have Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) ships shadow PLA Navy and Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ships and Chinese fishing boats, while ASDF F-15’s intercepted intruding PLA Air Force planes. Meanwhile, Tokyo issued sternly worded statements.