TOKYO, July 31 (UPI) -- The Japanese Defense Ministry Tuesday said China's naval activity in the Pacific is becoming routine, raising Tokyo's concern about security.
The ministry, in its Defense of Japan 2012 annual report, said China's Pacific activity indicated it could widen its maritime sphere and conduct operations and training as routine practices in waters near Japan, including the East China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, Kyodo News reported.
The report said Japan should pay attention to the activities of Chinese vessels in the East China Sea, where the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands are located. China calls them Diaoyu Islands.
China's official Xinhua news agency carried a brief story on the defense ministry report, but in a separate story quoted a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman as reiterating China's stand that it has indisputable sovereign rights over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. The spokesman was quoted as saying China opposes any military intervention in the area.
The Wall Street Journal quoted the Japanese annual report as saying relations between China's political elite and its military leadership have been growing complex and "the degree of military influence on foreign-policy decision has been changing," creating challenges for Japan's crisis management.
On North Korea, Japan said the Communist country has been repeating "provocative military action" on the Korean Peninsula, the Journal reported. Japan said North Korea's nuclear testing, and the buildup of its missile capability remain security challenges for Japan and the region.