Sunday, December 12, 2010

Japan "clever" defense policy strategy

"Under Giant Trees" by Nan Na Hvass, Sleevage

"Japan's warrior tradition is infinitely more deeply rooted than latter-day, post-World War II pacifism"

Japan must improve its defense capability near its maritime border with China in the southwest, Vice Defense Minister Jun Azumi said on 8 December. Azumi also said that Japan must ensure the mobility of its forces over the next decade to strengthen its defense, and it should revise its weapons export ban. With a public debt neighboring 5 trillion US $, I'd comment that it is easier to say than to do!

Yet, the expansion of China's military has increased regional instability and official sources told me the plan is already established. It means Japan should strengthen defense cooperation with South Korea, Australia and India. Definitely, North Korea's actions provided a suitable environment for Japanese-South Korean coordination and we know China won't let it go so easily. So the situation requires answers. It came around last summer when a decision was made to move the forces form the north more towards the Okinawa China seas and to reduce the cavalry - tanks - of the forces deployed on Hokkaido.

Now this is very important: Tokyo's politicians and military authorities clearly emphasize now the need to strengthen defense cooperation with South Korean, Australia and India. This is it! It is happening right in front of our eyes! Europe is not able to achieve a coherent defense policy. But fast as usual, US major allies in Asia are trying to do it "their way" and indeed Asian and Pacific countries are taking responsibility for the security of Asia, with or without American help in the future.

One example: This is everywhere in today's press, Japan says it will expand its network of land-based U.S. Patriot PAC-3 missiles to better defend against North Korean ballistic missiles. It is said that the White Paper on national defense, the annual revision of the country's basic defense program, is expected to be adopted by the end of 2010 or early 2011 to reflect the recent crisis on the Korean peninsula. We'll see and I doubt it will go so fast because of the Diet work...

Right now, the missiles are now deployed at three air bases in Japan, but additional systems will be placed on all major Japanese islands, what it means is that patriot missiles were previously deployed only at three air bases in Japan but in the near future additional systems will be placed on all major Japanese islands. Not so many countries can afford but Japan is one of a dozen countries to choose the combat-proven Patriot missile system as a major component of their air and missile defense programs.

Facts show that Tokyo's Kan administration determination to boost its missile defenses was strengthened after Pyongyang conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in July 2006, and an underground nuclear test explosion three months later and the military is particularly concerned about North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles with the flight range of 1300 kilometers.

Now, now... We need to pay careful attention to Japanese official statements about defense and national security. Statements like that above have become more frequent than ever and are reshaping public attitudes

Japan under a so called peaceful constitution is always sitting between two chairs. Its sincere desire to protect peace and forge new alliances via the UN to alleviate people's pains in conflict torn regions, but its military industrial complex, narrowly linked with the United States is also a difficulty to reject alliances when danger is facing the house.

As a security firm analyst put it, "Japan's warrior tradition is infinitely more deeply rooted than latter-day, post-World War II pacifism." Support for more expansive defense operations are manifest in Japan's deployment of a contingent in Iraq, airlift operations from Kuwait, fueling support for Allied naval forces in the Arabian Sea, and support for anti-piracy operations off Somali, including building a bases in Djibouti. In the past, PKO forces in Cambodia or Africa (Mozambique) were the test-tubes of a step by step military advance of Japan Inc. In French we talk about "la politique japonaise de réarmement par petit pas!"

Once Japan's constitution is amended or modified to permit collective security, the era of post-war pacifism will have ended. Parliament discussions these days held behind the scene show that the Kan's administration is trying to play "politics accounting" trying to secure safe majority at the lower house by allying with center or left parties, in this end this is the reason why prime minister Kan opened a deal with SPJ leader Fukushima. From my sources, she'll only agree if Kan shows "moderation" on the Okinawa held Futenma issue. No surprise if the military show the muscles with announcement on the missiles deployment. I am told that the SDF simply cannot stand the "leftist" mind of the current administration of Naoto Kan and his chief cabinet secretary Yoshito Sengoku.

Some observers still try to downgrade this Japan military build up, cooperation has several faces they say, especially in airspace industry as a Japan Times reader commented:

"NASA would not have met with as much success since the early days of manned space flight as it has if it hadn't been for the technological assistance from Japan's community of scientists and engineers. One wonders what mankind will accomplish in the future if all countries involved in space exploration fully cooperate with each other. But as long as the militaries of these nations are involved in space-related projects, cooperation will be greatly limited. Keep the politicians on the ground."

We could not say better thing, I'd be simply adding that diplomacy and intelligence network are more efficient tools to preserve from very unclear and impulsive schemes. But as one knows, lately, intelligence seems to be on the side of the "extremely opened leaks option..."

Sources: Agencies, Reporter's notes.

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