By Ling Yunzhi
March 29 marks the fifth anniversary of the implementation of Japan's Legislation for Peace and Security (commonly known as the new security bill) that is aimed at lifting the ban on Japan's exercise of the right of collective defense and allowing the Japan Self-defence Forces (JSDF) to conduct military operations at home and abroad in a greater scope.
Japan-US military integration increases the risk of war
Since the new security bill was adopted five years ago, JSDF has continuously expanded its overseas military operations scope. On the excuse of facing more complicated security threats, Japan has been exaggerating the deterioration of external security environment, increasing its military expenditure year by year, purchasing more high-performance weapons, and carrying out frequent military drills with surrounding countries. All these actions run counter to the spirit of the Peace Constitution.
The implementation of the new security bill leaves the Peace Constitution that commits Japan to giving up war and prohibits its exercise of the right to collective defense an empty shell, and even boosts the JSDF’s cooperation with American military both in peacetime and wartime. It enables Japan, as a US accomplice, to engage more deeply in regional and world affairs and turns it into a country that can step into global military conflicts and disputes any time. Thus, the possibility of it participating in a war is largely increasing.
According to public reports, JSDF, on the grounds that “escorting US vessels and military aircraft” has been included in the security bill, carried out joint military operations with US military up to 25 times in 2020, setting a new record in history.
Besides, JSDF continues to provide maritime fueling service for US Navy’s Aegis combat ship that is tasked with guarding against ballistic missiles from DPRK, and the two latest Maya-class 10,000-ton destroyers are equipped with interoperability systems that can share information with American warplanes and warships in a real-time manner. All these have doubtlessly paved the way for military integration between Tokyo and Washington.
As their military integration keeps deepening, JSDF will step into the international military stage and carry out military interventions in the name of exercising the right to collective defense. At that time, Japan will again become an aggressive nation that is more easily bound by America’s global strategy and more closely following it in randomly using force worldwide, posing a greater risk to itself being embroiled into a war.
Japan-US military integration will be further intensified
Given the US-Japan relation after WWII, their military integration is based on “mutual agreement” as they each stand to gain from the relation. Washington, in consideration for its own interests and its global and Asian-Pacific strategy, has always hoped that JSDF could play a bigger role and bear more responsibilities in the security domain, so that it could become American military’s main assistant in East Asia, so to speak. Meanwhile, deepening the defense cooperation with Japan can drive a wedge among regional countries and keep them constantly on edge about regional security, which just forms US's “Asian version of NATO” in the region.
After Biden took office, Washington has attached great importance to its allies and partners, and one of its main policies is to give maximum play to their strengths. To that end, it has recently stepped up efforts to rope in the Asian-Pacific allies by sending senior military and government officials to visit Japan and ROK in March, and by holding a video conference of the Quad cooperation mechanism comprising the US, Japan, Australia and India, in the endeavor to expand military alliance in the region.
On the other hand, the evolving military integration between Japan and the US will make the former more reliant on the latter to some extent. Washington is the dominant side in the bilateral military cooperation, and any reinforcement of the cooperation will make the US have more power in Japan.
Going forward, the cooperation mode of Japanese and American militaries will shift from each commanding its own troops to joint operation in an more integrated manner. The military integration and interoperability will be further deepened, as well.
Disclaimer: This article is originally published on The Paper, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.