Home > Uncategorized > Japan Flexing Its Military Muscle

Japan Flexing Its Military Muscle

China Daily
April 20, 2012

Japan flexing its military muscle
By Cai Hong

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Although Japan’s Constitution forbids offensive military operations, Japan has quietly built one of the most capable armed forces in the world. It has more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and its annual defense budget is about $56 billion, among the six largest in the world.

Now Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has established its first overseas military base in Djibouti since World War II in the name of fighting piracy.

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Japan is building its military muscle to play a bigger role in Asia and the rest of the world, and it is making its military might more visible.

Japan changed its defense policy last December to allow Japanese companies to export weapons and collaborate with countries other than its main ally, the US.

During British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Tokyo last week, it inked a deal with Britain on jointly developing and building defense equipment. It was Japan’s first weapons-building covenant with a country other than the United States since World War II.

Japan’s desire to build up its military strength has been fueled by the pivoting of the US’ strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

In January US President Barack Obama outlined a new national defense strategy refocusing on what he described as a smaller, more agile force across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East in line with the country’s planned cuts in defense spending. The new defense strategy called on US allies to boost their military roles in the years ahead.

Japan and the US have jointly conducted weapons research and development to step up their security alliance, but that’s not enough as Japan is expected to play a greater role in international peacekeeping, humanitarian support and to contribute to anti-piracy and anti-terrorism efforts, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

The easing of the ban allows Japanese defense contractors to get access to cutting-edge weapons technology from other countries.

“We should acquire the most advanced defense technology to upgrade the capability of Japanese defense industry and cut production costs by pursuing international joint development and production of defense equipment,” Fujimura said.

The joint development deal between Japan and Britain is the first step.

Although Japan’s Constitution forbids offensive military operations, Japan has quietly built one of the most capable armed forces in the world. It has more than 250,000 men and women in uniform and its annual defense budget is about $56 billion, among the six largest in the world.

Japan is also extending its military presence overseas and focusing on the operational flexibility of its forces.

Japan managed to send the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the sea off Somalia in 2009 by using the pretext of “counter-piracy” actions in the region.

Now Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has established its first overseas military base in Djibouti since World War II in the name of fighting piracy.

Djibouti rests at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, across from strife-torn Yemen, and borders the northwest corner of equally conflict-ridden Somalia. The narrow span of water separating it from Yemen is the gateway for all maritime traffic passing between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

However, the Japanese Constitution does not allow the SDF to be sent abroad even to “counter” pirates. This is clear from the official government interpretation that the SDF is the minimum unit of organized force to defend Japan.

In a further move to flex its military muscle, Japan’s Foreign Ministry is also planning to dispatch officials to the Philippines in May to determine the type and number of patrol vessels to be sent to the country, according to Kyodo News.

The government is considering providing the Philippines with patrol vessels and a sea-ground communications system as part of its official development assistance

Using China’s growth as an excuse, Japan is raising the capabilities of its forces and moving further away from the principles of its pacifist constitution.

This is no good news for the victim nations of Japanese military aggression during World War II.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. rosemerry
    April 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Soon there will be no other business in the world except mlitarism.

  2. noBS
    October 1, 2012 at 1:52 am

    China has threatened to wage war on its smaller neighbors. Thats why its neighbors are improving their militaries.

    • richardrozoff
      October 1, 2012 at 3:27 am

      China has not attacked a neighboring or any other country since 1979 (Vietnam) – with the encouragement, and connivance, of Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Richard Holbrooke.
      However, in the interim the U.S. and its NATO allies have attacked Grenada, Panama, Iraq, the Bosnian Serb Republic, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, with military strikes inside Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan as well.

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