Japan prepares for attacks from China

The liberal Asahi Shimbun recently revealed that Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) have made detailed plans for an attack from China. Since Japan and the United States issued a joint statement recognizing China as a military threat and Taiwan as the most likely potential flashpoint, this is the first time that military plans involving China have come to light.

Although the defense plan assessed the chances of any military attack from China as “small”, parts of the government and media called the China threat “highly exaggerated” and accused the GSDF of using it to maintain its funding and status. The Japan Defense Agency responded by saying that “Japan and its Self-Defense Forces must be prepared for any situation, even the worst possible case scenario”.

The “strictly confidential” defense plan was worked out by the GSDF in 2003-2004 and lists and analyzes various scenarios that could take place between 2004 and 2008. It also formally establishes North Korea and China as the main threats instead of Russia.

Firstly, the plan states that Japan will continue to depend on the United States for its nuclear deterrent. Secondly, the plan envisions two China attack scenarios:

Japan-China relations deteriorate, or tensions heighten over natural resources in the sea area near the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. As a result, China sends troops to the Senkaku islands to secure Beijing’s interests. Japan would respond by sending troops from Kyushu to the main island of Okinawa or other southern islands. The Air Self-Defense Force or the Maritime Self-Defense Force would deal with the Chinese troops who have landed on the Senkaku islands. GSDF troops would wipe out the remaining Chinese forces and take back the islands.

In the second scenario:

Tempers flare between China and Taiwan after Taipei declares independence. The United States, supported by Japan, intervenes, and Chinese military forces attack SDF facilities or U.S. military bases in Japan. The GSDF would dispatch core troops to the islands south of Okinawa’s main island, and send in other forces from Kyushu or Shikoku, depending on the situation. To deal with possible Chinese guerrilla attacks in urban areas of Japan, the GSDF would transfer troops from Hokkaido to cities under siege, and prepare to dispatch specially trained forces to protect SDF and U.S. bases.

Regarding the first scenario, it is conceivable that China might initially occupy disputed islands in the East China Sea as not only does China claim islands such as the Senkakus/Diaoyutais, but also significant parts of the sea itself. In addition, China adopted a similar strategy of occupying island chains during the Mainland-Taiwan wars of the 1950s. In any future China-Taiwan conflict, it is also possible that China would attack the highly equipped and heavily manned U.S. military bases in Japan. This would almost certainly drag Japan into the conflict or at least put an end to any neutral status. In such a scenario, it would be interesting to see what North Korea and Russia would do – China’s only real allies in the region.

The Discussion: 42 Comments

China-Taiwan wars of the 1950s


i can’t help laughing out when read this, even a “US-New York war” won’t make me laugh so loudly

October 11, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

You’re a bit late on this one. I reported on this in 2004 when the Tokyo outraged Beijing for asking that these plans be drawn up, and again this year when this article was printed in Japanese, which was about 2 weeks ago.

What this article didn’t say was that one of Tokyo’s big concerns as that the Japanese-Senkakus could be used as misisle platforms to attack US bases on Japanese-Okinawa or the home island, and that article 9 means that Japan has no missiles that it could use to repulse a Chinese on the islands.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:08 am | Comment

this a PR campaign to find excuses to re-gain the “freedom” deprived by the US

asahi shimbun collaborated with the japanese government to “reveal” the plan. but i have confidence on americans, they were not fooled by japan in their recent UNSC apply, and they won’t be fooled by such small tricks either

October 11, 2005 @ 1:11 am | Comment

I know ACB, but thanks for reminding me anyway. I’m busy on a post which updates the current East China Sea oil/gas dispute and thought this would be a nice precursor.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment

yes, bingfeng, them japanese sure is some “wascally wabbits!”

October 11, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment

bingfeng, if you can stop laughing for long enough to read this, China launched several attacks on Taiwan’s outlaying islands in the 50s. The attacks were effectively stopped by U.S. intervention.

As far as I know, they are not included in Chinese history books.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

What is so surpising about a country preparing to defend itself? I seem to recall that one of China’s strategies in the event of US intervention in a cross straights war is to attack the US bases on Okinawa. Since those are on Japanese soil that is an attack on Japan.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:34 am | Comment

bingfeng, if you can stop laughing for long enough to read this, China launched several attacks on Taiwan’s outlaying islands in the 50s. The attacks were effectively stopped by U.S. intervention.

As far as I know, they are not included in Chinese history books.

Posted by Martyn at October 11, 2005 01:29 AM


these wars are part of the chinese civil war between the chinese communists and chinese nationalists, how do you name the battles of the civil war in mainland? the China-Shanghai war (which expelled the natinoalists out of shanghai), the China-Nanking war? the China-Beijing War?

such names with personal ideology flavor damaged the credibility of your articles

October 11, 2005 @ 1:37 am | Comment


You take Chinese paranoia to new levels. Is there no anti-China conspiracy theory that you will not uncritically and excitedly embrace?

Everything is a nasty anti-China plan to try and keep China down, right?

I want to tell you that the Asahi Shimbun is one of the most liberal and left-leaning newspapers in Japan. It is also one of the most critical of the government and Kozumi’s shrine visits. It is also one of the most pro-China and regularly calls for better realtions between Japan and China.

Accusing Ashai Shimbun of working with the government on some dastardly plan is ludicrous.

Pull yourself together man.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:41 am | Comment

It is interesting that China has now replaced Russia as public enemy number one. It is even more interesting that unpredictable North Korea is only mentioned in passing.

I agree with GWMB’s comment, there’s nothing unusual about a country, especially a rich country planning to defend itself. Especially against ultra-nationalist China and it’s loony CCP government.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:44 am | Comment


Stop playing semantics.

Would you prefer it if I said “CCP-KMT” wars? Or “continued skirmishes in the Chinese Civil War between the communists and the nationalists”? Or “Cross-Straits attacks”?

China-Taiwan is as good as phrase as any.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:47 am | Comment

bingfeng, what would call any conflict between China and Taiwan?

The Mainland China – Taiwan Province of China War?

The PRC-ROC War?

It seems that you are the only one getting excited about this tiny detail.

October 11, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

i believe a phrase like “China-Province of China War” will do the same to make you guys laugh.

come on martyn, i don’t believe a knowledgable person like you don’t get what i mean. in 1950s, when taiwan just returned to china and the legal chinese government (KMT government) fled to taiwan and the US supported the ROC government to re-gain its lost regions in mainland china and even the first taiwan independence group was set up a few years later in tokyo, a name of China-Taiwan Wars is not that correct to describ them.

October 11, 2005 @ 2:01 am | Comment

i have a few alternatives that both are correct and fit with your ideology:

1) the civil wars between the communist china and taiwan

2) wars between communist china and free china (in taiwan)

3) the chinese civil wars between mainland and taiwan

October 11, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

thank god, japanese officials will come to china to get japanese chemical weapons left behind in china removed.

October 11, 2005 @ 2:20 am | Comment

China could never just invade the Senkaku islands as any invasion would not simply mean China taking over a few tiny atols which it claims. It would put Taiwan and America on Red Alert, not to mention Japan. It would also mean that China was beginning to act belligerently and try to take over the South China Sea and East China Sea which it already claims VERY large parts of already.

It would have alarm bells ringing all over the world and America would not allow the balance of power in Asia to shift in favor so quickly.

October 11, 2005 @ 2:23 am | Comment

How about Mainland-Taiwan Wars of the 1950s? Everyone happy?!

October 11, 2005 @ 2:25 am | Comment


“My ideology”? No, I’m not getting involved with all this current sniping about everybody predicting everybody else’s comments…..

October 11, 2005 @ 2:26 am | Comment

another irony of the so-called “china-taiwan wars” is that they are the ways by both communist mainland and nationalist taiwan to keep china one country not separated by the taiwan straits. the communists stopped attack islands controled by taiwan but near the mainland and taiwan kept the control over those islands to send a strong signal that taiwan is not isolated from the mainland as some country hoped

October 11, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

That’s absolute rubbish bingfeng and you know it. You really are playing devil’s advocate today. More than usual I might add.

During the Nationalist retreat several islands and island chains were taken over and fortified by Chang Kai Shek. The Mainland launched several campains to take over these islands but they were stopped after U.S. threats and direct intervention. It’s as simple as that.

October 11, 2005 @ 2:39 am | Comment

During the Nationalist retreat several islands and island chains were taken over and fortified by Chang Kai Shek. The Mainland launched several campains to take over these islands but they were stopped after U.S. threats and direct intervention. It’s as simple as that.


this is not true.

PLA was defeated when trying to take over one island.

at the same time, one country tried to push taiwan into independence by asking KMT government give up those tiny islands near the mainland.

when Mao and Chiang Kai-shik found the intention of that foreign country, they somehow collaborated, mainland stopped the attacks on these islands and taiwan grasped the islands near mainland firmly to sent signals to that foreign country.

October 11, 2005 @ 2:47 am | Comment

… and they all lived happily ever after.

At least according to the brothers bingfeng

October 11, 2005 @ 2:57 am | Comment

here are some background information about how Chiang Kai-shek defended the “one china status” by refusing to withdraw from those tiny islands near mainland:

the 4th and 5th section:

October 11, 2005 @ 2:58 am | Comment

Many in Taiwan prefer calling it the “Wars against the Bandits”
Binfeng, don’t laugh too hard this time.

October 11, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment

“They somehow collaborated”

Is that like the “and then a miracle occurs” step in a mathematical proof?

October 11, 2005 @ 3:10 am | Comment

I love to getz my history from Sohu!
Anyway, sorry, but I doubt the objectivity of any Chinese article that refers to “imperialist attempts to control Taiwan.”

October 11, 2005 @ 3:10 am | Comment

Now, let’s talk about the British civil war … not the War of the Roses, or Cromwell etc … I’m talking about the George Washington vs King George Civil War. You damn splittists threatening Britain’s integrity with your refusal to name things properly. There’s also the Russian civil war between Russia and her rebellious provinces of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland etc… damnation … there are splittists everywhere!

October 11, 2005 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Kevin stole my thunder. Bingfeng, how do expect to be taken seriously when you ask people to beleive Chinese interpretations of history? Many of us are from countries that do not make questioning the official government interpretation of history a crime. In the West, anyone can write a history book. Official versions of history are often questioned in the West.

You have a short memory. For 50 years you could get imprisoned in China for daring to say that the Nationalist armies fought well against the Japanese. Then, because it served current political purposes regarding Taiwan, the Chinese goverment DID A COMPLETE U-TURN and accepted that the Nationalists played their part in World War II.

The current version is still far from the truth (the CCP did little and the KMT did most of the fighting and the dying) but it’s still a complete U-turn with the past.

How can you just accpet this? How is something acceptable now that was denied for 50 years?

October 11, 2005 @ 3:34 am | Comment

Exactly, Brian. How can you trust any version that bans all others?

October 11, 2005 @ 3:53 am | Comment

The Diaoyu islands have been historically part of Taiwan, and therefore been part of China. Japan should do what is right: turn these islands back to Taipei. The best defense of Japan is stay stay out of the Taiwan issue. If it intends to meddle in this issue, then it is asking for it really. We may end up with an independent new country called Ryuku again…more can play this game.

October 11, 2005 @ 7:29 am | Comment

“this a PR campaign to find excuses to re-gain the “freedom” deprived by the US”

Bingfeng, so it’s true, you have NO IDEA about Japan or about Japanese politics. That is one of the most idiotic posts that you have ever made. Stop embarrasing yourself and admit that you can’t read a word of Japanese, can’t be nothered to read the English, and just read the Xinhua version.

This response has NOTHING to do with throwing the yanks out, in fact half of it is at the insistance of Ameirca which has been pressuring Japan to re arm since it lost the Korean war.

If anything, this will increase US Military involvement in Japan by getting them to bring in Aegis ships and to sell Japan missile interceptors.

America wants Japan to re arm and to prepare for a threat from North Korea so that it can restructure its forces in Asia. It also wants Japan to prepare for a threat from China so that US troops don’t have to support Taiwan on their own.

Add to this, that the US wants to move its strategic headquartres from Washington to camp Zama and you will quickly see that this is part of a wider plan to put Japan in a position where the US can alter the make up of its Pacific forces to make them a rapid reaction force rather than a garisson force.

Look at Japan’s recent moves; missile defense, a reduction of ground forces to free up resources for elsewhere, calls for the modernization of its recon and tactical capabilities, an increased priority on spy satellites. Japan isn’t gearing up to throwing the US out, its building defense and C and C capabilities to allow the US to resructure its forces to meet the needs of a fleet response plan.

October 11, 2005 @ 8:50 am | Comment

Bing Feng

the asahi shimbun is a partner organization of Xinhua, it’s pro China. It was hoping to use this leak to make Japan look agressive.

Anyway, I thought that you would be all for Japan throwing out America, it would mean that many less whites looking to get in between China and Taiwan.

The US is spoiling for a fight, Japan isn’t.

October 11, 2005 @ 8:53 am | Comment


Read the full article.

Japan envisions three situations named Crisiss X, Y and Z. one aimed at each Russia, China and North Korea.

Russia is considered to be the lowest threat, followed by China, and North Korea is considered to be the biggest bogey man.

If you look at Japan’s recent military moves, you will see that they have involved increasing Aegis protection against North Korean missiles, but nothing against China. Japna doens’t consider China to be a significant military threat now that hte cold war is over.

Read my views on this situation.

October 11, 2005 @ 9:01 am | Comment

This is aimed at North Korea, not China

“Our current threat is rather North Korea than China …. The major threats [to Japan] at the moment are guerillas, refugees, or missiles from North Korea”

Professor Shikata Toshiyuki, Defense Analyst

“[The change in defense policy] does not mean that we consider China a threat,”

Hosoda Hiroyuki, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Japan

educate yourselves


October 11, 2005 @ 9:03 am | Comment

admit that you can’t read a word of Japanese, can’t be nothered to read the English, and just read the Xinhua version


“a word of japanese”? you mean the fake chinese characters created by japanese?

“can’t be nothered to read the english”? are you talking about yourself with the word “nothered”?

October 11, 2005 @ 10:01 am | Comment

It’s not really that simple Martyn your history is incredibly sloppy. The conflict began in mid-May of 1954 with a PLA attack on the Dachen island chain that initially seized four of the islands. The amphibious campaign continued in earnest by January in 1955 when PLA forces invaded the largest island of the group, Yijiangshan. Eventually the KMT was forced to withdraw the garrison and the island’s civilian population (about 33,000 via transports supplied by the USN I believe) on the verge of being overrun. Jinmen and Matsu were never invaded although they were heavily shelled. The US did not directly intervene beyond providing supplies for the RoC forces. The presence of the constant flow of material from the US prevented the RoC garrison from having to abandon the islands. The artillery duel saw another surge in 1958 although there were not in direct plans to seize Jinmen. The shelling didn’t really stop until the PLA exhausted most of it’s ammunition stockpiles in the nearby military regions and resupply became difficult. A number of years back, I read about how some blacksmith was still collecting spent shell caseings littered around the islands and turning the metal into kitchen knives.

The US presence may have prevented the PRC from seizing Jinmen and Matsu, but Dachen and Yijiangshan from falling. Though the scenario of 1954-1955 can hardly be applied to that of Diaoyutai today. For one thing, the primary island of the group is a mere 4 square kilometers in size compared to some 120’ish for Jinmen’s two islands. Even Iwo Jima was some 20 square kilometers. Furthermore while Diaoyutai has economic and political significance, it doesn’t have much of a military one. There isn’t much chances of the PLA attempting to seize the island. The second theory outlined, attacks on US stageing points for a possible defense of Taiwan is the far more plausible scenario.

October 11, 2005 @ 11:36 am | Comment

ACB said: “That is one of the most idiotic posts that you have ever made.”
But Bingfeng felt the need to top his stupidest post ever with this condescending statement to the japanese: “you mean the fake chinese characters created by japanese?”
Bing Feng, you officially broke the record!
Sorry, but really try reading the articles next time rather than just spreading bigoted concepts about Japan.

October 11, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

“How about Mainland-Taiwan Wars of the 1950s? Everyone happy?!”


It was just a continuation of the Chinese civil war, between CCP and CKS’s KMT.

If you are concerned of political correcteness, you can think of it this way: this was chiang kai-shek and mao’s war. it had nothing to do with the local Taiwan people living on the island. To draw an analogy, the Russo-Japanese war in Liaoning peninsular is not a Sino-Japanese nor Sino-Russo war even though it occured on China’s land.

But mainland-taiwan is fine. I really couldn’t care about semantics.

October 13, 2005 @ 4:23 pm | Comment

(these semantics just sound awkward and hard to link to historical documents)

perhaps you can call it “Taiwan-strait War”

October 13, 2005 @ 4:31 pm | Comment

” you mean the fake chinese characters created by japanese?”

Actually Bing Feng, Japan has two indiginous languages of its own. Hirigana, which is a curved phoetic script used to represent Kanji and native words that have no Kanji, and Katakana, an angular phonetic script used to represent foreign words which (obviously) have no Kanji.

Using these two scripts Japan can add new words to its language in the same way that western countries can, so Japan doesn’t need to keep stacking Hanzi up like China does.

Then there is Kanji, Kanji are Traditional Chinese characters that Japan imported from China in the days when China was more learned than Japan. These are actually real Chinese characters, through some have been simplified and some have slightly different meanings, they are also pronounced differently.

You speak about Japan, yet you do not even have the most basic knowledge about Japanese writting. How can you honestly expect anybody to believe you when you talk about history and politics if you don’t even know that Japan has its own written scripts.

Even foreigners from white countries know about Hirigana and Katakana, many can even read them.

You know less about Japan than a white foreigner does.

October 20, 2005 @ 12:58 am | Comment

China has as much chance of taking and holding Senkakus/Diaoyutais as Cuba does of taking Key West. The Japanese defense forces have clear naval superiority over the Chinese, without the need of US intervention, although the US would surely intervene if required.

October 20, 2005 @ 5:58 am | Comment

Correction, Okinawa belong to china . it has been stolen by Japan in 19th century , now occupied ilegally by US.
China will take over it after China Unification War(unify Tai-Wan back to motherland) .

February 13, 2006 @ 1:41 am | Comment

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