Projection forces ahead?
The dream of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces?
"Asked at the Parliament about the difference of the political neutrality of SDF personnel and other public officials, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, the right-hand man of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, on Thursday, called for the need to adhere to the principle of civilian control, given that the SDF is an "instrument of violence" and "a kind of military organization."
Mr Sengoku made the remark and much later, apologized to the JSDF, during the Upper House Budget Committee session. This incident and statement came in response to an opposition lawmaker's question over the Defense Ministry's recent notice to officials and SDF brass that effectively bars them from inviting to events any guest who could make political remarks, which can compromise the SDF's political neutrality." (Kyodo quoted)
Well, I watched that session on my screen, and I do not want to defend Sengoku using a 1970's demonstrations "student slogan" but he was truly awfully targeted and his fellow cabinet members too, some of it was necessary as useful politics in a democracy but something of a despair was felt watching at the other stoned politicians related to economy who certainly do not wish to go into such bloody man's hunt or Roman circus. They simply have to be more professionals haven't they? But seeing all the bureaucrats around Sengoku and his ministers giving the advise proved again that the "king is naked."
Such a verbal inflation occurs at a moment when the new Japan National Defense Program Guidelines is to be realized at the end of 2010. Again, the power of words does not hide the real intentions, disguised behind formula, it is clear, this program is a major shift, a change as never Japan weapons Heavies [term referring to Japanese military manufacturers, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki etc.] had ever dreamed of and this is a left center socialists minded government who delivers it!
It's not exactly a program of limited lethality, providing the program will be set with NATO and will 'beef up' Japan's defense capability in the East China Sea in a context of regional tension and weapons race contrary to the statements of local officials.
Here in Asia, weapons race is going at high speed. While China has never deployed carrier-borne aircraft and India has operated a small carrier force since the early 1960s, "their aspirations regarding aircraft carriers and the deployment of air power at sea are naturally the subjects of comparison" as Jane's writes. Building super carriers is not exactly a legit' tool of pacifism, critics will argue, but for Japan on the updating mood to boost her military posture, it's a matter of survival of the economy.
As previously said and based on successful enterprises for merchants of weapons: Asia is to become a major market for all sorts of weapons. Scenario for horror? It appears already in numerous movies and video games to any 10 years old Japanese kid.
So, it was nice try. The recent making of a celebration in Hiroshima with Peace Nobel prizes and contemplation of the immensity of human generosity while Apec leaders were trying to map out the future of Asian economies with a 2 speed mode. Rich ones, and the poor ones and the opponents. As one high official told me the other day "we are to sign the TPP within a few months even though Chinese will get mad at it. So... what?" "What" being the stability of the region...
Reading one of the conservative newspapers in Japan, the Yomiuri, a paper coupled with a popular Japanese Television, NTV, well versed in military topics, here is the announcement of the coming historic shift of the Sato's three basic principles on arms exports.
Quote: The [Japanese] government is scheduled to formulate new National Defense Program Guidelines, which are expected to involve revisions to the three basic principles on arms exports, by the end of this year. The draft, recently compiled by the [Japanese] Foreign Relations and Security Research Committee chaired by House of Representatives member Masaharu Nakagawa, also says development and production programs conducted jointly with other nations should be allowed.
The current three principles prohibit in principle the export of weapons and weapons-related technologies to all other countries.
When the Cabinet of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato first proposed the three principles on arms exports in 1967, the target nations were communist bloc countries, countries subject to arms trade embargoes under U.N. Security Council resolutions and countries involved in or likely to become involved in international conflicts. In 1976, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Takeo Miki expanded the scope of the principles to include all countries, in principle. According to the DPJ panel's draft, the embargo will be scaled back to apply only to those nations stipulated by the Sato Cabinet.
In addition, the draft adds four more principles on arms exports:
Exports of finished products will be allowed only to aid peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. Even in those cases, products will be restricted to weapons of limited lethality. Nations permitted to be involved in joint development and production programs will be member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Australia, South Korea and others that make strict arms export control efforts, including participation in treaties on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. A legal framework should ensure weapons and weapons-related technologies are not transferred to third countries. The draft also includes measures to beef up Japan's defense capability in and around the Nansei Islands, a grouping that extends into Okinawa Prefecture from part of Kagoshima Prefecture.
The measures include reinforcing Ground Self-Defense Force deployments in Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture, improving the capabilities of Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines, and using high-speed transport ships and large cargo vessels to increase mobility in the deployment of defense forces. Unquote
"Asian countries impress merchants with
billion dollars of purchases, but they don't
seem to follow it up with proper training
and proper equipment. There are doubts
that they have good military doctrines to
put their new toys to effective use."
Quotes on The Diplomat forum 09/25/10
Yes but things proceed. As with the construction of a Japanese base in Djibouti to combat piracy off the eastern coast of Africa, it is making progress. Construction began in July and should be completed in March 2011. The base will include housing units, hangars, an office building and an aircraft apron that can hold three aircraft. The base is near-by the US and the French bases involved in common missions of monitoring. Pirates... Only?
Other business deals of the past day? Just to add to the trend? South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering looks at the Brazilian Navy about its requirement to procure frigates, offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and logistics support ships. The Brazilian Navy's requirement under the first stage of its Fleet Renewal Program consists of five OPVs, five frigates and one logistics support vessel. And Russian helicopters is doing pretty good in China. "Russian Helicopters said it represents an "important step in the change of strategy from selling just the helicopter itself to selling the entire life-cycle of a helicopter, including after-sale service and modern training means"." Jane's quotes.
Reading specialized reviews about arms trade in Asia and maintaining training and education since my French Military Academy is of major importance and interest as an Asia watcher.
To be continued, certainly.
Sources: MOD, Yomiuri, Jane's, Global Security, agencies,
Diplomat, People's Daily, Reporter's notes