Beijing expressed on Monday that it was not at all happy over remarks made by a Japanese diplomat who said China is “a militarist country.” Hidehisa Horinouchi, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, said that if China criticized Japan for passing a secrecy law that hinted of militarism, then China had already become a militarist country itself, according to media reports. Horinouchi also said that China had altered the status quo of the East China Sea unilaterally by establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone.
“It is totally wrong and ridiculous that some Japanese official has confused right and wrong, and used the occasion to attack China,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a daily news briefing. “China is strongly dissatisfied with that,” he said. Hong added that due to historical reasons, it is normal that China and other neighboring countries of Japan and the international community pay attention to Japan’s road of development. Japan’s censure on the issue of the East China Sea is utterly groundless, Hong also said. “We urge Japan to be modest and heed the pleas and concerns of its Asian neighbors and the international community, and make efforts to improve bilateral ties,” Hong concluded.
Japan’s House of Councilors passed a controversial secrecy law on Friday by a vote of 130 to 82 to prevent leaks of state secrets, despite protests from the public and opposition parties. The law, which grants the government more authority to dish out tougher penalties to those leaking sensitive secrets, has met strong opposition. But Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to assuage the concerns of the public, saying that the law is essential for Japan to keep up with the international community in terms of information security. The passing of the law marks a major step forward for Prime Minister Abe’s drive to remake the country’s defense posture.