Japan has played up so-called “external threats” in recent years and greatly boosted its defence budget, and this tendency to return to the path of militarisation is “very dangerous”, China’s defence ministry said on Thursday (Mar 16).

Japan should stop doing things that harm regional peace and stability, Tan Kefei, spokesman at the Chinese defence ministry, said at a media briefing.

Japan, which renounced war in 1947, last year unveiled a five-year US$315 billion military expansion to deter Beijing from using force in the East China Sea amid growing concern Russia’s attack on Ukraine could embolden China to invade Taiwan.

Last month, Japan said it suspected Chinese surveillance balloons had entered Japanese territory at least three times since 2019.