The Defense Ministry's white paper for 2012 bluntly stated Japan's strong reservations about China's mounting arms buildup and growing naval presence in the Pacific Ocean.
"The Chinese navy's advance into the Pacific Ocean is becoming routine," said the document, released July 31 and issued to a Cabinet meeting by Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto.
In each defense white paper since 2008, the government has expressed "concern" in referring to trends in China's military activities.
But this year's report, for the first time, made no bones about Japan's anxiety over China's intentions, noting that the country's defense spending, based on official estimates, "has increased about 30-fold during the past 24 years."
The report also pointed to a lack of transparency in China's defense spending, saying, "The basic breakdown of spending, including costs to procure key pieces of equipment, is not given."
The report paid particular attention to China's naval presence in international waters and oft-stated goal to develop aircraft carriers.
It said the Chinese navy "is trying to step up its abilities to deploy warships in the outer ocean."
The report noted that a Chinese fleet of warships had traveled through waters between Okinawa Prefecture's main island and Miyakojima island, making it the largest Chinese fleet in Pacific waters in modern times.
Turning to the new Chinese leadership that will emerge this autumn, the report said, "Factors that could destabilize the management of the government are expanding and diversifying (due to the spread of the Internet and other reasons)."
It said the relationship between the Communist Party leadership and the Chinese military has become "complicated" and the military is exerting greater influence on decision-making with regard to "external policies."
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