The rhetoric between Asia’s two superpowers is becoming more belligerent with China warning that if Japan carries out a threat to shoot down foreign drones, it would be an act of war.
Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has issued his own warning, saying Tokyo is prepared to be more assertive towards Beijing, while also telling China not to use force to try to change the regional balance of power.
Over the weekend, Japan twice scrambled fighter jets to monitor Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.
Speaking at a military parade which looked very similar to the ones seen in North Korea, Mr Abe rallied Japanese troops.
“Post-World War II, we have prospered and moved forward as a peaceful nation. This is something for us to be very proud of,” Mr Abe said.
“However, in order for us to continue protecting this peace into the future, we must be vigilant.”
This vigilance is particularly directed towards China, which is locked in a dispute with Japan over a handful of rocky outcrops in the East China Sea.
But whoever controls these outcrops controls the vast maritime territory that surrounds them – a seabed said to be rich in rare earth minerals and some known oil reserves.
Beijing regularly buzzes the skies around the islands with aircraft, while its ships also sail close by.