Why Japan is boosting its arms capability, budget
TOKYO (AP) – Japan this week adopted a new national security strategy that includes a determination to have “counterstrike” capabilities to forestall enemy attacks and to double its spending to gain a more offensive base and increase its resilience improve to protect against growing risks from China. North Korea and Russia: The new strategy marks a historic shift from Japan’s exclusive self-defense policy since the end of World War II. Here’s a look at Japan’s new security and defense strategies and how they will change the country’s defensive posture.
The biggest change in the National Security Strategy is the possession of “Counterstrike Capabilities,” which Japan describes as “essential.” Japan aims to achieve within about 10 years capabilities “to disrupt and defeat invasions against its nation much earlier and from a greater distance”.
This puts an end to the 1956 government policy which put the ability to engage enemy targets on hold and recognized the idea only as a constitutional last line of defense.
Japan says missile attacks against the country have become a “tangible threat” and its current intercept-based missile defense system is inadequate. North Korea has launched more than 30 missiles this year alone, including one that overfly Japan, and China fired ballistic missiles into waters near the South Japanese islands.
Japan says the use of Counterstrike abilities is constitutional when done in response to signs of an impending enemy attack, but experts say it’s extremely difficult to pull off such an attack without risking blame for the initial strike. Opponents say strike capability under Japan’s pacifist constitution goes beyond self-defense.
“(Japan’s) exclusive self-defense policy is undermined,” said the liberal-leaning Asahi newspaper.
DOUBLING DEFENSE SPENDING
Japan aims to double its defense spending to about 2% of its GDP for a total of about 43 trillion yen ($320 billion) by 2027. The new spending target follows the NATO standard and will eventually bring Japan’s annual budget to about 10 trillion yen ($73 billion), the world’s third largest after the United States and China.
Kishida said his government will need an additional 4 trillion yen ($30 billion) annually and proposed tax increases to fund a quarter of that. His tax hike request failed and the five-year defense build-up plan had to be released without full funding plans, while the ruling party continued to debate how to pay the shortfall.
In the next five years, Japan will spend about 5 trillion yen (37 billion yen) Heavy industry will improve and mass-produce a Type 12 surface-to-ship missile. Japanese defense officials said they are still finalizing details on the Tomahawk purchase.
Japan will also develop other types of arsenal, such as hypersonic weapons and unmanned and multi-role vehicles for possible collaboration with the next-generation FX fighter jet that Japan is developing with Britain and Italy for deployment in 2035.
Several standoff missile units are on the move in unknown locations.
Japan, which lacks adequate cybersecurity and intelligence capabilities, will have to rely heavily on the United States to launch long-range cruise missiles at intended targets in these areas, experts say.
“Without cybersecurity, self-defense force superiority or interoperability between Japan and the US is difficult to achieve,” said the five-year defense program, also adopted on Friday, which recognizes the need to strengthen cybersecurity at the SDF and Japan’s defense industry guarantee.
This is a welcome development for the United States, as the Japanese government’s weak cybersecurity has been “a key impediment to deeper alliance cooperation and expanded information sharing,” according to Christopher Johnstone, Senior Advisor and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Japan will spend 8 trillion yen ($58 billion) on cross-domain defenses, including cybersecurity and space, over the next five years.
CHINA AS “BIGGEST STRATEGIC CHALLENGE”
Fear of what has been described as “the most severe and complicated regional security environment” in the post-war period was a driving force behind the overhaul of Japan’s strategy.
China, with its rapid rearmament, increasingly assertive military activities and rivalry with the US, poses “an unprecedented and greatest strategic challenge” to the peace and security of Japan and the international community, the strategy said.
Russia’s war on Ukraine sparked fears of an emergency in Taiwan and accelerated the move to strengthen Japan’s deterrent over the next five years. While North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities, the main threat is still China, for which Japan has had to prepare “by using the North Korean threat as a cover,” said Tomohisa Takei, a retired admiral in the Japanese Navy.
STILL EXCLUSIVELY SELF DEFENSE?
Because of its wartime history as an aggressor and the devastation it suffered after its defeat, Japan’s post-war policy prioritized economy over security, relying on American troops stationed in Japan as part of their bilateral security agreement, in roles dubbed “shield and dagger.” “ is known.
The prospect of even closer cooperation with the US military as part of the new strategy has raised concerns that Japan would take on more offensive responsibilities.
Japan says it will maintain its pacifist principle of high standards for weapons equipment and technology transfer. However, some easing is planned to allow for currently restricted exports of offensive equipment and components, including those of the next-generation FX fighter jet, to bolster the country’s defense equipment industry.
Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press