I believe that by organizing a demonstrative joint passage of Russian and Chinese warships along the straits separating the Japanese islands, the authorities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have chosen an effective method of cooling heated Japanese heads. Following the irresponsible Japanese Internet users with their calls for the fight against neighboring states to acquire nuclear missile weapons, aircraft carrier ships, formations for landing troops on enemy islands in order to “liberate” them, seemingly quite responsible high-ranking politicians of the Land of the Rising Sun started talking about this …
Recall that Japan, which does not have the right to possess the army, aviation and navy, according to the appropriations for the armed forces existing in violation of the Basic Law of the country, spends almost as much as Germany and Great Britain. And what is amazing, more than the second largest military power in the world – the Russian Federation!
While talking with Japanese politicians and political scientists, I often hear that the lion’s share of the costs is spent on the maintenance and social security of Japanese armed forces personnel. My interlocutors also complain that Japanese taxpayers are forced to allocate huge annually for the maintenance of the contingent of American troops stationed at almost a hundred US military bases and facilities in Japan.
Justifying the creation of assault airborne units in the country “to liberate the outlying islands,” Japan claims that such units are conducting maneuvers with the US army in the event of the liberation of the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese) seized by China, which Beijing historically considers to be its own. In response to the reminder that the official Tokyo considers the South Kuril Islands belonging to Russia to be “captured”, the Japanese admit this, but they persuade that so far the question of “liberating the northern territories” (the Kuril Islands) is not worth force: they say, they only talk about it marginals. Maybe while this is so, but judging by the comments in the Japanese media, there are more and more “marginals” in the Land of the Rising Sun.
And are they the only ones calling for the revival of Japan as a “great military power”? The woman politician Sanae Takaichi, who has nominated herself for the post of chairman of the ruling LDP party and prime minister with the support of the Japanese “hawk” from Shinzo Abe’s policy, in her program calls for a doubling of budgetary allocations for Japan’s military needs. And also to the deployment in the country of American medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads aimed at China and Russia. And Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the adoption in the near future of a new defense doctrine that provides for Japan’s right to launch preemptive strikes against military installations of neighboring states.
However, let’s return to the commotion caused by Russian and Chinese ships, passing through the international straits close to Japan. Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called the joint passage of Russian and Chinese Navy ships through the Tsugaru and Osumi straits demonstrative. “Such a large-scale and long-term action,” he said at a press conference in Tokyo, “has been undertaken for the first time, it is unprecedented. I believe that it was conceived as a demonstration addressed to our country. ” Recall that on October 18, a joint Sino-Russian military squadron of 10 ships, including 5 Chinese missile destroyers and 5 Russian destroyers with support ships, passed through the Tsugaru (Sangar) Strait, which connects the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean, between the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. Then such a passage was undertaken along the Osumi Strait, which is in the Ryukyu island ridge (Okinawa).
The author of Yahoo News Japan, Yoshikazu Tagami, explains to the alarmed Japanese citizens that the passage of the joint military squadron of the fleets of Russia and China, considered potential enemies of Japan, does not contradict international laws, because foreign warships used neutral waters to enter the Pacific Ocean.
Tagami writes: “The Tsugaru Strait is used for international shipping, and warships can also pass through it, but a joint simultaneous passage through the strait by a battle group of Chinese and Russian ships was carried out for the first time and attracted significant attention both in Japan and the international community. As for the legal status of the Tsugaru Strait, its peculiarity is that the territorial waters of Japan, which, according to international law, must be up to 12 nautical miles, in this strait are unilaterally narrowed to 3 nautical miles in accordance with the Japanese law on territorial waters … It’s no secret that there are many voices in Japanese society in favor of repealing the said law on Japan’s 3-mile “special sea zone” in the Tsugaru Strait. “
The Japanese government has organized neutral waters in its straits largely for the ships of the American ally with nuclear weapons on board. Establishing its territorial waters in the straits of 3 miles, the Japanese government explained this by the fact that the country adheres to the “three non-nuclear principles” and cannot allow ships with such weapons to enter its territorial waters. Say, let them go formally in international waters. As Yoshikazu Tagami admits, “recently there has been a lot of information that it was then about American nuclear submarines, which were actively navigating the Japanese straits and should have had the freedom to maneuver“ outside Japanese territorial waters ”. Secret agreements with the Americans over the 3-mile zone were reported in June 2009 by the Kyodo Tsushin news agency.
According to the legislation established by the Japanese, not only American, but also any foreign ships can freely pass through the Japanese straits. And this, as the author notes, is provided for by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, even before this Convention was adopted, the innocent passage of warships in international straits, as opposed to territorial waters, was allowed. With the adoption of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, this rule was approved.
Here is a little-known fact. Among the proposals of the Soviet government to the text of a peace treaty with Japan at the 1951 San Francisco Conference, there was an article on the use of the straits adjacent to Japanese territory:
“13. New article (in chapter III).
1. “The La Perouse (Soy) and Nemuro straits along the entire Japanese coast, as well as the Sangar (Tsugaru) and Tsushima straits, must be demilitarized. These straits will always be open for the passage of merchant ships of all countries.
2. The straits referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be open only to those warships that belong to the Powers adjacent to the Sea of Japan. “
Since it was a question of closing these straits primarily for US warships, the Americans rejected these proposals of the USSR, like all other amendments.
Responding to hysterical Japanese users demanding the abolition of “neutral waters” in the Japanese straits, mine them to prevent the passage of Russian and Chinese ships, Yoshikazu Tagami explains: “According to the” Law on the territorial waters of Japan “, adopted in 1977, Soya (La Perouse), the Tsugaru Strait (Sangar), the East and West Tsushima straits and the Osumi Strait, which are used for international navigation, the width of the territorial waters is set at 3 nautical miles, and these waters are designated as “special sea zones, or areas”. And everything that is in the straits beyond them, in essence, is an open sea space. It can be freely used for international shipping and does not fall under the definition of an “international strait” (Article 36 of the Convention).
Such a regime of these straits is based on the idea that, as a maritime nation, Japan, in its national interests, should, to the maximum extent, guarantee free navigation in the surrounding seas and ocean expanses … Foreign warships, including their groups, can freely navigate here, as and happened in the case of the last passes through these straits of the joint Chinese-Russian squadron. “
They are closely following what is happening in the United States, where, in response to statements by Moscow and Beijing that “maneuvers (of the fleets of the two countries) are a means of maintaining stability in a troubled region,” heightened tensions, they accused Russia and China of actions threatening Japan. “This confirms the conclusions that Japan has already made that China is a threat to it and therefore needs to increase military spending and increase its combat readiness to counter this threat,” says Drew Thompson, formerly of the US Department of Defense and now a freelance Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Government at the National University of Singapore.
However, there are objectively thinking analysts in the West who see in the demonstrative joint actions of the armies and navies of Russia and China a forced response to the encirclement of these countries by coalitions led by the United States, playing the role of NATO’s East Asian flank. Japan, on the other hand, although not formally a member of NATO, has long been integrated into the global military strategy of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance. CNN’s Brad Landon notes: “In the summer, the Japanese Navy conducted joint training in the Pacific with colleagues from the British Aircraft Carrier Strike Group 21, led by the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, and with US Navy ships.
Beijing has been closely following this kind of events, and the mixed Russian-Chinese naval group has been a testament to the fact that China also has partners. Alessio Patalano, who teaches war and strategy at King’s College London, says: “This summer, the US Navy and partner countries have significantly increased the level of engagement in the Western Pacific. This demonstrated a certain weakness of the Chinese, and the joint Russian-Chinese patrol was the answer to this. “
The American and Japanese lobbies in Russia are doing everything possible to introduce contradictions in relations between China and Russia, prevent their strategic interaction in the military sphere, and intimidate the Russian leadership and the population with the “Chinese threat.” However, these attempts are in vain, because in our day, only the balance of power on the planet can save the world from a new universal slaughter, which does not allow one of the opposing sides to have an advantageous position. It is precisely to maintain such a balance that the actions of Moscow and Beijing are directed, including in East Asia, where hotbeds of tension are inflating.
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