Japan's accelerated military buildup signals danger


China Military Online
Li Wei
2022-02-17 17:32:20

By Feng Kaibao, Wei Xinran

冯开宝 韦欣然

The Japanese government finalized the amendment to the Self-Defense Forces Law at a cabinet meeting on February 8, allowing foreign nationals to evacuate onboard JSDF's planes in case of riots overseas. On February 9, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade of Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and America's Marine Corps held a joint military exercise in California of west US.


In recent years, Japan has been busy deepening military cooperation with the US, accelerating its own military buildup, and expanding the scope of JSDF activities, laying bare its ambition to break free from the military restrictions.


Record-setting defense budget


In June 2021, Japan lifted the 40-year-long cap on its defense budget – 1% of GDP and replaced it with a new policy that takes “needs for military development” as the top criterion, further revealing its intention of smashing the military restrictions upon the country.


In November 2021, the Japanese government officially passed the JPY 773.8 billion supplementary budget for FY2021 proposed by the Defense Ministry, labeling it as an enhanced accelerator of Japan’s defense capability. The supplement, coupled with the JPY 5.34 trillion defense budget adopted in December 2020, drove the total number over JPY 6 trillion for the first time in history.


Japanese media also reported that the country will amend its National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP) in 2022, and the new five-year defense budget is likely to exceed JPY 30 trillion for the first time, a nearly 3 trillion increase from the previous period.


Accelerated R&D and commissioning of new military equipment


Purchase of advanced military equipment is an important part of Japan’s efforts to speed up its military buildup. It is reported that the increased defense budget will mainly be spent on the construction of military-industrial conglomerates, purchase of new military equipment, and maintenance and upgrade of the equipment and bases.


After long years of input and operation, Japan has established a multi-dimension anti-missile air-defense pre-warning system covering the land, sea, air and space based on a large variety of platforms such as radars, satellites, airplanes and vessels. It also gives priority to maintaining and reinforcing combined anti-missile and air-defense capabilities when strengthening the military.


Japan will use the FY2021 supplementary defense budget to purchase Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) land-based anti-missile system, Type 03 mid-range ground-to-air missile, and other weapons and equipment to upgrade its combined missile defense capability more quickly. It also plans to buy a batch of Type 12 and Type 18 torpedoes, three P-1 anti-submarine patrol aircraft, one C-2 transport plane, 13 UH-2 multi-purpose military helicopters, and two sets of ship-borne vertical launch systems, as well as repair and upgrade the Okinawa military base.


Improvement of real-combat simulation in Japan-US exercises


Japan and the US had up to 118 public exercises and training in 2021 in spite of the pandemic, involving joint operations, anti-submarine combat, cyber combat, and coordinated airlanding. The events simulated real combats as much as possible with more definite objectives.


The United States Marine Corps and JGSDF had their largest-ever joint field training exercise Resolute Dragon 21 from December 4 to 17, 2021. Information from the Japanese Defense Ministry showed that the exercise, simulating the attack and defense of the southwestern islands, spanning multiple locations, and including such subjects as air maneuvering and anti-ship combat, was aimed to test JGSDF’s cross-terrain combat capability and improve the two countries’ military coordination.


Japan is no longer beating about the bush about its intention to break away from military restrictions and accelerate military development. The force and credibility of its Pacifist Constitution have long been compromised and some Japanese politicians are all but wearing the words “confrontation” and “militarism” on their foreheads. The international community and all peace-loving people around the world must be highly vigilant against this ominous resurgence of militarist trend.


(The authors are from the College of International Studies, National University of Defense Technology)



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