I think this has little to do with China vs. Japan. Those waters are actually within the US sphere of influence. I think the US military is making much of this to keep China and Japan at odds with one another since Japan will probably ask us to leave Okinawa in the coming years. While I was an officer in the army, all anyone in the military ever talked about was war with China right up until I left in 2007 (by contrast, military folks happily talked about Japan and South Korea as if they were brothels). We were fighting some inconsequential colonial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but everyone still talked about the "Chi-coms" as if they were the real enemy. I never understood it. In the business world, I find there is nothing but good feelings toward China. So there is certainly a disconnect somewhere among what the defense establishment wants, what the politicians want, and what the business world wants regarding Chinese relations.