Source Global Times

BEIJING, China: After Japan released its plan to upgrade 16 airports and ports for possible defense use, experts pointed out that this is in line with the US' regional strategy to contain China, and also a manifestation of Japan's "resurgence of militarism," which will have a destructive impact on regional peace and order.
According to a report from Japanese media outlet Kyodo News on Wednesday, Japan is planning to upgrade five airports and 11 ports, with the intention of them being utilized by the country's defense forces and coast guard in case of military emergencies.
Citing a government source, the report said that Japan has lingering concerns over China's maritime assertiveness and a potential conflict over Taiwan island. 
Nearly half of the 16 commercial facilities are located either in Okinawa Prefecture, where US troops are concentrated, or the southwestern main island of Kyushu, which according to Kyodo News reflects "Japan's efforts to beef up defense around its far-flung southwest islands."
Experts reached by the Global Times pointed out that Japan's upgrading plan aims to coordinate with the US' latest military deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, and also demonstrates the country's "resurgence of militarism," indicating its ambition to extend its military reach and influence.
"The latest plan by Japan is undoubtedly in line with the US' 'Indo-Pacific Strategy,' achieving the effect of demonstrating US leadership in the Asia-Pacific region," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday, adding that the plan itself deliberately creates a tense atmosphere in the region, while also indicating that the US and Japan may continue to create crises in the area.
In addition to serving US strategic interests, Japan is also using this opportunity to realize its own political objectives, which is to expand its military influence, in a clear departure from its postwar pacifist principles, Chen Hong, executive director of Asia Pacific Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Friday.
Chen emphasized that the US is actively supporting Japan in expanding its military capabilities and is creating conditions for Japan to relax its military restrictions. This is seen as a way to enable Japan to compete and confront China in the US' strategic planning, Chen noted.
According to Kyodo News, the plan is expected to commence in the next fiscal year starting April. On Thursday, Japan's parliament approved the budget for the fiscal year of 2024, including a record 7.95 trillion yen ($52.53 billion) in defense spending.
During a regular press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said that in recent years, Japan has been drastically readjusting its security policy, increasing defense spending year after year, easing restrictions on arms exports and seeking military breakthroughs.
Lin noted that this has inevitably led neighboring countries in Asia and the international community to strongly question whether Japan is truly committed to a defensive posture and the path of peaceful development.
"We urge Japan to sincerely respect the security concerns of neighboring countries, deeply reflect on its aggressive history, and adhere to the path of peaceful development, so as to avoid further loss of trust from neighboring countries in Asia and the international community," the spokesperson said.
Analysts pointed out that Japan's recent military activities have sparked concerns among neighboring countries, as they could lead to regional instability and escalate the arms race in the region.
They also noted that such reckless behavior could have an impact on regional economic cooperation.
Earlier on Tuesday, Japan's cabinet greenlit the export of new fighter jets it is developing with the UK and Italy, which will allow Japan to export lethal weapons it co-manufactures to other countries for the first time. Experts noted that this new resolution opens the door for the direct export of advanced military equipment such as Japanese warships and submarines to third countries in the future.