BEIJING, Aug. 6 -- To the surprise of no one, Japan's defense white paper for 2014, published on Tuesday, once again played up the so-called "China threat" to lend support to its own military buildup.
The paper, which devoted 21 pages to China, compared with 8 pages for the United States and 17 pages for the Korean Peninsula, said China's establishment of an air defense identification zone was extremely dangerous and could escalate tensions and trigger an unwanted clash.
China's Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea is actually a necessary measure to protect China's sovereignty and security and is in line with common international practice.
Neighboring countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam set up their own air defense identification zones before China did.
China's Ministry of National Defense said in a press release after the report's release that Japan has ignored the facts, made groundless accusations and deliberately played up the China threat.
The ministry said all this was done as an excuse for Japan to adjust military and security policies and expand its military.
Building on the old logic of a worsening security environment, this year's report served to realize the bigger goal of promoting Japan's military ambitions, which may go beyond its own territory.
The document called for the cabinet to endorse the reinterpretation of the country's pacifist Constitution for the right to collective self-defense.
The reinterpretation, endorsed in July, paved the way for sending soldiers into battle overseas to defend Japan and "countries with close ties."
After justifying the reinterpretation, the paper explained that the use of force in defending Japan is "not necessarily confined to the geographic boundaries of Japanese territory, territorial waters, or airspace."
The Japanese government has challenged China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands in blatant defiance to the Cairo Declaration. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to a shrine honoring Class-A war criminals last December has caused a growing chill in relations with neighboring countries.
With a distorted attitude toward history, the Japanese government still refuses to admit the nature, let alone scale, of its war crimes during WWII.
Hints of Japan's military expansion should not go unnoticed, and Japan should look to itself for sources of threat, rather than pointing fingers at China's legal actions.