Budget, why Japan is increasing its arms capability

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan this week adopted a new national security strategy that includes determination to possess “counterstrike” capability to preempt enemy attacks and double its spending to gain a more offensive footing and improve its resilience to protect itself from growing risks from China, North Korea and Russia. The new strategy is a major shift in Japan’s self-defense policy from the end World War II. We will be taking a look at Japan’s new defense and security strategies and how they will affect the country’s defense.

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COUNTERSTRIKE CAPABILITY

The biggest change in the National Security Strategy is possession of “counterstrike capability” that Japan calls “indispensable.” Japan aims to achieve capabilities ”to disrupt and defeat invasions against its nation much earlier and at a further distance” within about 10 years.

This ends the 1956 government policy of putting off the ability to strike enemy targets. It was only recognized as a last-ditch defense by the Constitution.

Japan says missile attacks against it have become “a palpable threat” and its current interceptor-reliant missile defense system is insufficient. North Korea launched at least 30 missiles in the past year alone, one that overflew JapanChina and, launched ballistic missiles into the waters around the southern Japanese islands.

Japan claims that counterstrike capabilities are constitutional when used in response to imminent enemy attacks. However, experts agree that it is very difficult to carry out such an attack without being blamed for having struck first. Opponents argue that strike capability is not limited to self-defense as per Japan’s pacifist constitution.

The liberal-leaning Asahi newspaper stated that Japan’s exclusive self-defense strategy is “empty”

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DIFFERENT DEFENSE SPENDING

Japan plans to increase its defense spending by 2% to approximately 43 trillion yen ($320billion) over the next five years. The new spending target follows the NATO standard and will eventually push Japan’s annual budget to about 10 trillion yen ($73 billion), the world’s third biggest after the United States and China.

Kishida claimed that his government will require an additional 4 trillion Japanese yen ($30 Billion) each year and suggested tax increases to finance a quarter. The tax-raise request by Kishida was unsuccessful. His five-year defense building plan had to be released with no full funding plans, while the governing party continued to discuss how to cover the shortfall.

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LONG-RANGE MISSILES

Japan will spend approximately 5 trillion yen ($37billion) over the next five-years on long-range missiles. Their deployment is scheduled for 2026. Japan will purchase U.S.-made Tomahawks and Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, while Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industry will improve and mass-produce a Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missile. Japanese defense officials stated that details are still being finalized for Tomahawk purchases.

Japan will also create other types, such as hypersonic weaponry and unmanned and multi-role vehicle for possible collaboration with NATO F-X next-generation fighter jet Japan is developing For deployment in 2035, Britain and Italy will be partnered with Italy.

Many standoff missile units are currently in place at unspecified locations.

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CYBERSECURITY

Experts say Japan will need to heavily rely upon the United States for long-range cruise missile launches at targets.

“Without cybersecurity, Self-Defense Force superiority or Japan-U.S. interoperatibility is difficult to achieve,” according to the five-year defense program also adopted Friday, acknowledging the need to ensure cybersecurity at the SDF and Japanese defense industry.

This is a welcome development for the United States as the Japanese government’s weak cybersecurity has been “a critical 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.

Over the next five-year period, Japan will spend 8 trillion Japanese yen ($58billion) on cross-domain defense, including space and cybersecurity.

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CHINA AS ‘GREATEST STRATEGIC CHALLENGE’

Fear of a regional security environment described as “the severest and most complicated” in the postwar era has been a driving force behind the revision to Japan’s strategy.

China, with its rapid arms buildup, increasingly assertive military activity and rivalry with the U.S., presents “an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge” to the peace and security of Japan and the international community, the strategy states.

Russia’s war on Ukraine You are the spark fears of a Taiwan emergency, accelerating the move to bolster Japan’s deterrence within the next five years. North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and missile weapons capabilities, but the main threat is still China, for which Japan has had to prepare “by using North Korea’s threat as a cover,” said Tomohisa Takei, a retired admiral in Japan’s navy.

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STILL EXCLUSIVELY SSELF-DEFENSE

Because of its wartime past as aggressor and devastation after its defeat, Japan’s postwar policy prioritized the economy over security by relying on American troops stationed in Japan under their bilateral security agreement, in a division of roles known as “shield and dagger.”

The prospect of closer cooperation with the U.S. military in the new strategy has raised concerns about Japan taking on more offensive responsibility.

Japan has stated that it will continue to adhere to its pacifist principle and maintain high standards in technology transfer and arms equipment. But some easing is planned to allow currently restricted exports of offensive equipment and components, including those of the next-generation F-X fighter jet, as a way to strengthen the country’s defense equipment industry.

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