Germany was much closer to us physically, so that their [air] menace though not close to us in time was closer to our hearts.
Sir John Simon, in CAB 16/110 (17 May 1934); quoted in Uri Bialer, The Shadow of the Bomber: The Fear of Air Attack and British Politics, 1932-1939 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1980), 45-6 (emphasis in original).
This is just an example of how fearful people - even, or perhaps especially, Cabinet ministers (Simon was then Foreign Secretary) - were of a then non-existent German air force. I presume Japan was what Germany was closer than, the context might have been a discussion over whether to finish the naval base at Singapore or to expand the RAF (Bialer isn't clear - it's just a guess on my part; it could also be Italy I suppose). So even though Japan was then realistically more of a threat and Germany a only potential one, the aerial threat to London took priority over the safety of the Empire.
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