China's Fortress Fleet-in-Being and its Implications for Japan's Security Asie.Visions, No. 62, February 2013
This paper analyzes the rise of maritime China and its implications for Japan’s security policy.
In recent years, Chinese naval capabilities have been growing. Beijing aims to expand its maritime presence in the region, but also to limit the access of other fleets - primarily the US Navy - to its nearby waters. This Chinese anti-access/area-denial approach is analyzed here through the concepts of fortress fleet and fleet-in-being. Tokyo has reinforced its deterrence capability toward Chinese naval activities by setting up a more “dynamic defense” and concentrating efforts to protect its southwestern border. In addition to Japan’s efforts, the reinforcement of the alliance with the United States in the context of the American rebalancing toward Asia is also a major element in providing an effective response to Chinese maritime expansion. Despite his hawkish rhetoric, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would not change Japan’s security policy dramatically but rather seek communication with Beijing in order to ensure crisis management.