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Although the Japanese military does not have a stated strategy for countering Chinese anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) threats, analysts say its decades-long buildup of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities means it is increasingly able to play such a role.

Formally, the mission of the Japan’s Navy remains protection of sea lines of communication and defense of the homeland in the event of direct invasion.

But the current mid-term defense plan and the creation of a more “dynamic defense” strategy to counter China has seen the focus shift from the north-western Pacific to supporting US Navy carrier strike groups in the seas surrounding Japan. Invasion forces...

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