Sino-Japanese Conflict Risk Scenarios

A skirmish or even limited conflict between Japanese and Chinese military forces over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands cannot be ruled out over the coming years. In a special feature published on Business Monitor Online last week, we examined various scenarios of how this could play out.

The scenarios we cover include:

  • An aerial or naval collision/skirmish
  • A deadly incident involving Chinese or Japanese activists on the islands
  • Japan builds new facilities on islands
  • War Scenario: China seizes the islands by force


In the event of the fourth scenario transpiring, we would expect:

  • Japan to respond forcefully
  • The US to provide only logistical support
  • Japan and China to limit the scope of conflict


We also discuss:

  • The implications of a Japanese victory
  • The implications of a Chinese victory
  • The economic implications of a Sino-Japanese conflict


Overall, a Sino-Japanese conflict would be a remarkable event, for several reasons:

  • It would be the first time since 1979 (when it briefly invaded Vietnam) that China would be in conflict with another sovereign state
  • It would be Japan's first military conflict since 1945
  • It would disprove the widely held assumption that the world's major economies are too interdependent on one another to allow them to go to war
  • It would test the US's willingness to come to the defence of a treaty ally
  • It would determine the balance of power in East Asia, and potentially the world

The full article is available to our subscribers at Business Monitor Online.