(From Reuters)

Japan’s top military commander, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, said Thursday he expected China to become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea and it was possible Japan would conduct patrols and surveillance activities there in the future.

Speaking in Washington, Kawano said there had been “talk” of Japan conducting such patrols in the South China Sea, including anti-submarine activities.

“But our position on this is that we consider this as a potential future issue to be considered depending on how things pan out,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Kawano’s comment comes a day after a Chinese expert told a Hong Kong-based English newspaper that Sino-Japanese relations will be harmed and the chances of war in Asia will increase with the passage of a bill in the lower house of parliament in Tokyo on Thursday paving the way for Japanese troops fighting abroad for the first time in 70 years.

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Japan says it may conduct patrols and surveillance activities on the South China Sea if Beijing becomes more assertive there

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