China’s massive arms buildups have exerted overpowering psychological effects over Southeast Asian countries. Yet, the world suffers the dearth of objective assessment of China’s warfighting capabilities, and is only ill-informed with partial impressionistic evaluation thereof that is based on the quantity of major platforms and weapons. In fact, China itself appears to have emphasized its military power in that manner, greatly having influenced the world perception on regional military balance of power in favor of China. Here, a Japanese perspective is of growing importance particularly because Japan in tandem with the U.S. has begun playing a larger military role of checking China in the South China Sea. This paper is an attempt to appraise the capabilities based on Japanese-language open source analyses of Japanese non-governmental experts and distill the Japanese strategic thinking in contrast to the Chinese counterpart. It is hoped that this work will enable further in-depth discussion that is underpinned on a cultural-philosophic understanding.