(Bloomberg) -- Russia and China’s deepening military cooperation that has included joint air and navy drills is raising security concerns in the region, Japan said in its first annual defense report issued since Moscow invaded Ukraine. 

In the report released Friday, the Defense Ministry detailed renewed concerns about the security of Taiwan, which China sees as territory that must be reclaimed. The section doubled in length from last year to 10 pages and includes a description of the island’s attempts to bolster its defenses against any attack by China, despite falling ever further behind the mainland in terms of military prowess.  

“Changes to the status quo by force are a problem for the whole world, so we will watch related developments with increased vigilance, while cooperating with our ally the US, friendly countries and the international community,” the ministry said. 

The Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine has drastically changed Japan’s security perspectives, fueling support for increased military spending and stoking worries that Moscow’s long-time partners China and North Korea may be emboldened to take a more aggressive stance.

The Defense Ministry detailed joint drills conducted by Russia and China in the waters and airspace surrounding Japan in an expanded two-page section on military cooperation between two of its nearest neighbors. The two nations undertook joint air exercises near Japan and South Korea as President Joe Biden wound down a visit to the US allies in May. 

“We can see a deepening of military cooperation and this will have a direct effect on the security situation surrounding our country,” the ministry said in a summary of the report. “We must continue to pay close attention to these developments with concern.”  

In a foreword to the 500-page report, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said he was full of anger and sorrow over the invasion on Ukraine, and reiterated a warning that it wasn’t a matter for Europe alone, but a sign of strategic competition between nations that had particular implications for the existing order in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Japan has thrown its support behind Ukraine, imposing a series of sanctions on Russia, while providing non-lethal military equipment to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also sought to bolster his country’s security by strengthening ties with a range of countries, including by this year becoming the first Japanese premier to attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

Following Kishida’s vow to drastically upgrade Japan’s defenses in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, including a substantial increase in spending, the ministry laid out no target for spending, but offered international context. Its military budget accounts for a lower percentage of gross domestic product than any other country in the Group of Seven, at 0.95% for the fiscal year ending in March, compared with almost 2% for the UK and more than 3% for the US.

While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has called for Japan to match the 2% budget target set by NATO, the government has yet to endorse that goal. Japan’s defense spending has been rising gradually for a decade, but the recent slump in the yen will mean its money doesn’t go as far. 

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