By Gerard Baker, George Nishiyama WSJ Oct.26,2013 TOKYOâ€”Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he envisions a resurgent Japan taking a more assertive leadership role in Asia to counter Chinaâ€™s power, seeking to place Tokyo at the helm of countries in the region nervous about Beijingâ€™s military buildup amid fears of an American pullback. Mr. Abe made clear that one important way that Japan would â€œcontributeâ€ would be countering China in Asia. â€œThere are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it wonâ€™t be able to emerge peacefully,â€ Mr. Abe said. â€œSo it shouldnâ€™t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.â€ Chinaâ€™s Foreign Ministry didnâ€™t immediately respond to requests to comment on Mr. Abeâ€™s assertions. In the past, the Chinese government has said that Mr. Abeâ€™s government was in danger of leading Japan toward a revival of right-wing militarism. Mr. Abeâ€™s comments come amid a period of heightened tensions between the two Asian giants, as high-level diplomatic contact has virtually dried up amid a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. While the conflict preceded Mr. Abe becoming prime minister in December 2012, Beijing has accused him of aggravating ties with assertive rhetoric defending Japanâ€™s claims and ramping up Coast Guard defense of the chain of islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.