China criticised Japan's latest defense white paper on Tuesday, accusing Japan of using the so-called China threat as an excuse for its military buildup.
The Japanese cabinet approved a defense white paper for 2014 on Tuesday. It said Japan needs to improve its defense capacity to cope with an increasingly severe security environment, and points out threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China and Russia.
It expressed strong concern about China's military development and activity in the East China and South China seas; the establishment of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea; and an "unusually close encounter" between Chinese and Japanese military aircraft.
China's Ministry of National Defense said in a press release that Japan has ignored the facts, made groundless charges and deliberately played up the China threat.
"All this is done as an excuse for Japan to adjust military and security policies and expand its military," the ministry said, expressing "firm opposition".
"We are assessing the details of the white paper and will make further comment in due course," the ministry added.
The white paper also proposes that Japan should play a dominant role in regional and international cooperation in the defense arena, which is regarded by analysts as Abe administration's attempt to make Japan into a military power.