Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to counter China's rising military power, but he forgets that the United States, his country's security ally and whose influence in the region is declining, wants to see him make peace with China, not prolong the stand-off.
The US is obliged through its security treaty to go to Japan's aid in the event of an attack. But the Americans do not want to be drawn into any armed conflict especially if it involves China.
Mr Abe, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) last week, said that in recent meetings with regional leaders, he realised that "Japan is expected to exert leadership not just on the economic front, but also in the field of security in the Asia-Pacific".
He said there were concerns that China is trying to change the status quo "by force, rather than by rule of law", referring to several maritime disputes in regional waters involving Beijing.
One important way a resurgent Japan could contribute is by countering China, he told WSJ.
But the Japanese leader seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact that many Asian countries were victims of his country's past military aggression and therefore are nervous about his plan to revise the Constitution to boost the role of its de facto military.
Mr Abe's talk about making Japan stronger also appears partly to be flag-waving aimed at winning support from Japanese who share his nationalistic views.
Asked by WSJ about the pullback in US participation in the region, most notably President Barack Obama's no-show at Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings early this month, Mr Abe did not give a direct answer.