Japan Scraps Pacifist Defense Strategy, Makes Huge Move With Its Own Military

With an uneasy eye on the ominous activity by its neighbors, Japan has revealed the largest military buildup since the Second World War. The island nation is planning to spend $320 million over the next five years as it seeks to counter the growing threat of Chinese expansion in the region. According to Reuters, this unprecedented shakeup of Japanese defense policy will make the country the third-largest military spender in the world, behind the U.S. and China. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his government have warned that Japan is at a “turning point in history” and must rise to answer the “security challenges that we face.” Japan’s constitution, written with American influence in the wake of World War II, forbade Japan from having a military capable of anything other than self-defense. According to the Japan Times, the Japanese government has released a new National Security Strategy outlining its reasons for the buildup and its goals going forward. “Looking at Japan’s surroundings, it is facing the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II,” the NSS stated. Reuters quoted the report further: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a serious violation of laws that forbid the use of force and has shaken the foundations of the international order … The strategic challenge posed by China is the biggest Japan has ever faced.” [firefly_poll] The new strategic documents also mention North Korea as a “graver, more imminent threat than before,” the Times reported. Retired Air Self-Defense Force general, Toshimichi Nagaiwa explained how the current war in Ukraine has influenced Japanese decision-making. “The Ukraine war has shown us the necessity of being able to sustain a fight, and that is something Japan has not so far been prepared for.” “Japan is making a late start, it is like we are 200 metres behind in a 400-metre sprint,” he added. Japanese industrial companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are expected to develop three new missile designs for  Japan’s new and improved long-range missile force. MHI will also be partnering with British aerospace company BAE Systems PLC and Italian company Leonardo SPA to develop Japan’s new fighter jets. Japan would also be shopping for equipment from its allies, with the American F-35 fighter jet, attack drones and other aircraft being sought out, according to Reuters. With China and North Korea continuing to build and improve their long-range missile abilities, Japan is putting a major focus on that category of tech to improve the nation’s counter-strike abilities in case of attack. “Being able to ‘defend’ from greater distances and across different domains … has become a new military focus, so I think such counterstrike capabilities are legitimate, given China’s aggressiveness and its growing long-range weapon arsenal,” said James Schoff, senior director of the U.S.-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA. Countering these new threats will see Japan spend 2 percent of its GDP on the military by 2027, the Times reported. While some fear Japan’s new posture may make the region more volatile, Japan has still vowed to be defense-oriented with its military assets. As Kishida said, “Japan’s path as a peaceful nation will remain unchanged.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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