Periodically, the Japanese Ministry of Defence publishes updates on the threat envelope for Japan.
This month, the MOD published three briefings, one each for China, Russia and North Korea.
Notably, all three of these are nuclear powers, which means that the alliance with the United States needs to deliver credible conventional through nuclear deterrent capabilities.
With regard to the Russians, the conflict between Japan and Russia over the Kuril Islands highlights a broader military and strategic interest in terms of their Pacific operations, The slide below from their Russian briefing highlights this point.
With regard to North Korea, the evolving nuclear threat is highlighted.
The threat as seen from Japan is summarized in the following graphic:
These two authoritarian states are significant threats when considered in and of themselves.
But when joined with the dynamic activities of Communist China, the threat envelope expands significantly for the island nation
It should be noted that China faces three island nations in the Pacific all of which have a number of common interests in dealing with China: Taiwan, Japan and Australia. This makes the question of air-maritime power the core one for all three nations when confronting three continentally based powers.
The slide below, summarizes the Japanese perspective with regard to the growing nature of the Chinese military threat to Japan.
The various slide packs produced by the Japanese Ministry of Defence can be read in e-book form below.