ROK residents are protesting before the Lotte Department Store in Seoul on February 23 against Lotte's land swap deal with ROK Defense Ministry for THAAD deployment. Photo by Yao Qilin, Xinhua News Agency.
BEIJING, Feb. 27 (ChinaMil) -- The THAAD missile battery has stirred up the Republic of Korea(ROK)'s political world. The ruling party and opposition parties cannot reach an agreement, and the ROK people have held multiple large-scale protests against the deployment of THAAD.
However, Just as ROK is deeply troubled by THAAD, Japan hurriedly announced that it will put the ballistic missile defense program on the agenda, including whether to deploy America's THAAD anti-missile system.
Jung Will Wu (Transcription), an ROK expert on security and human rights, wrote in his "All About THAAD" that deploying the THAAD will bring no benefit and only harm for ROK's national interests. But despite the lesson from ROK, Japan decided to follow in its steps in order to strengthen the military and consolidate the US-Japan alliance. Doesn't it know that the "beggar-thy-neighbor" policy will get it more kicks than halfpence?
Japan has planned for THAAD deployment for a long time.
Public opinions in Japan generally believed that even if Japan is to introduce the THAAD, that would be after the five-year mid-term defense program terminates in 2018.
But Japan's NHK reported earlier that while China and ROK are in a tense relation because of the latter's deployment of THAAD, the Japanese Defense Ministry decided to discuss as soon as possible whether to introduce THAAD.
The report also said that this decision may move Japan's introduction of THAAD forward to before 2018.
According to Lv Yaodong, head of the Diplomatic Studies Department at the Institute of Japanese Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, it's just a matter of time before Japan's deployment of THAAD.
Japan wants to strengthen military in the name of security.
After the DPRK test-launched the Polaris 2 land-based mobile fixed fuel missile on February 12, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party "seized the opportunity" to create the atmosphere for introducing "THAAD".
The usual pitch used by Japan is to deal with the mounting "missile threat" from DPRK, but Lv Yaodong believed that DPRK is just an excuse, not Japan's main objective.
From a military technology perspective, Japan intends to introduce THAAD in order to make up for the loopholes in its current two-layer anti-missile system and build a more complete three-layer system, so as to intensify the deterrence to surrounding countries.
Huo Jiangang, an associate researcher from the Institute of Japanese Studies of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, also said that introducing THAAD will improve Japan's military preparedness and push it closer to the goal of becoming a military power.
In fact THAAD is just part of Japan's military expansion. Its military expenditure has kept rising in recent years. Japan's defense budget for 2017 is 5.1 trillion Japanese Yen (about RMB308.1 billion), a historical new high after rising for five consecutive years and exceeding 5 trillion Japanese Yen for two years in a row.
In a sharp contrast to the continuously rising military expenditure, the Japanese government has reduced expenditure on social welfare.
Besides, passing the new security bills, lifting the ban on the right to collective self-defense and taking steps to amend the constitution - all these speak loudly of the Abe administration's ambition to expand the military and "normalize the country" along the rightist path.
Japan will pay high "protection fee" in disguise.
According to reports by Japanese media, introducing THAAD may cost Japan hundreds of billions of Japanese Yen. It is a good opportunity for Japan to obtain anti-missile technology and further cement the US-Japan alliance, and also an opportunity for the U.S. to ask for more "protection fee".
Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA Navy's Expert Consultation Committee, pointed out that the U.S. may consider selling THAAD as Japan proposed to introduce it because the U.S. is eager to raise Japan's protection fee, but that's hard for Japan, so it has to buy more American equipment to pay the protection fee in disguise.
But money won't necessarily give Japan what it wants because it may have divergences with the U.S. in system operation. Japan wishes that the U.S. will not only sell it the system, but also transfer the technology, but its wish isn't likely to come true.
Being a high-end Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, THAAD is much more technologically advanced than Patriot 2 and 3, and its terminal interception warhead is extremely advanced too, including many core technologies that the U.S. doesn't want to transfer to Japan.
It is learnt that the THAAD system to be deployed in ROK soon will be operated by American military completely, and ROK will only provide the land. Previously the U.S. has always had reservations against Japan in the technological field, so whether it will completely open the technology after THAAD's deployment in Japan is unknown yet.
Although whether to introduce THAAD is still in debate and the U.S. and Japan will negotiate about it for a long time, once Japan did deploy it, that might threaten the interests of some Northeast Asian countries, particularly China and Russia.
Zhou Yongsheng, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, held that Japan's deployment of THAAD will harm the legitimate security and strategic interests of China and Russia, and the two countries should deal with the situation by enhancing their own defense and strategic capability.
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