Japan, which recently launched the first of its 22DDH class helicopter destroyer, is looking to beef up its armed forces in order to be able to respond effectively in case of a conflict, such as:
- Setting up special amphibious Marine task force, including the purchase of related amphibious assault vehicles.
- Strengthen the Navy with additional destroyers and submarines.
- Strengthen the Air Force with additional AEW&C aircraft.
- Purchasing additional PAC-3 systems to enhance ballistic missile defense.
- Increase in pay for defense personnel.
Although some give Japan the edge over China, there are others who suggest that if war were to break out now between the two, China would not only defeat Japan, but do so far more convincingly than most people think would be possible.
Even if the conflict were to be limited to conventional arms only, Japan would still require foreign assistance, especially from the United States, to handle China. Without such assistance, Japan would very likely lose the war.
One of the major factors affecting the outcome would be the geography, which strongly favors China. The islands are much closer to the Chinese mainland than they are to the Japanese home islands. This would play into China's strengths, while exposing Japan's weaknesses.
Although the Japanese Navy has the advantage over the Chinese Navy, it would not be enough to overcome China's very significant advantage in the air, including Chinese missile capabilities, space assets and other force multipliers.
The Chinese Navy is also outpacing the Japanese Navy and rapidly upgrading both in quantity and quality. Whatever edge there is for the Japanese Navy, it will quickly disappear in the near future.