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East China Sea is Japan's top security challenge

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A Chinese Coast Guard ship equipped with what appeared to be gun turrets approached the Senkaku Islands in December. (Courtesy of the Japan Coast Guard)   © Kyodo

Tensions in the South China Sea have been in the international spotlight over the past few months. In Japan, there has been significant debate over the country's potential role as a U.S. regional ally in ensuring freedom of navigation and the promotion of a rules-based order in the region. But while the South China Sea continues to be an important regional issue, the potential for increased tensions in the East China Sea remains the most important security challenge for Japan.

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