Japan should build a military base on islands disputed with China, as a counter measure to the rising assertiveness from the part of Beijing, a high-ranked Japanese opposition politician said.
Nobuteru Ishihara, member of the Liberal Democratic Party, said he believed “that we must seriously begin contemplating the establishment of a permanent post for the Self-Defense Force in this area," referring to officially pacifist Japan’s armed forces.
The islands in discussion are called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Japan’s arrest last year of a Chinese vessel captain led to a bitter, ongoing diplomatic conflict.
Ishihara also said that Japan should act “quickly” in order to secure public control of the islands. "Following this change, a port should be developed where fishing boats may take refuge," he said.
In a recent comment on China’s military development, Ishihara said that the Asian neighbor has become "assertive, one may even say aggressive," in recent years. He pointed to China’s initiatives in other maritime disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations.
This spring, China announced it would increase its military spending by 13 percent over the next 12 months. China already has the second largest defence budget in the world, after the United States. On the other hand, Japan’s defense budget has decreased each year for almost a decade.