Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
national

Japan's manpower-light defense strategy a flawed 'paper plan', officers say

68 Comments
By Kaori Kaneko and Tim Kelly

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


68 Comments
Login to comment

The Chinese are actually quite innovative - at intellectual property theft

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DT,if you do not have the GPS Coordinates,on Tomahawk they are useless, cannot rely on Tercom

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Automation can do many things, but it is people who need to be on the ground. There is no substitution.

Ah, but you can reduce crew size on ships, submarines and aircraft, even eliminate the need for manned aircraft in some situations through automation. The engine rooms of merchant ships don't have the armies of people in them one sees in most US Navy ships. Things like oil levels in shaft bearings can be monitored electronically instead of sending some poor schmuck (me) crawling on their back inches from a turning propeller shaft to read the oil level of the shaft bearings visually. Firefighting and dewatering systems can be automated to an extent, reducing manpower required for battle damage control. There are many ways automation can reduce the required manpower and every navy in the west is faced with this problem.

The Swedes are incorporating a number of UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles) into their new A-26 class submarines that will conduct many of the operations a sub normally does while the sub remains hidden. The UUVs essentially increase the number of subs an enemy faces without increasing the number of crew. The US and Australia are pursuing what they call Loyal Wingman, unmanned combat aerial vehicles so that each manned combat jet brings along three or four of these unmanned jets, which are armed and have their own sensors and that are communicating with their manned aircraft and the ground. This increases firepower without increasing manpower. Each pilot now commands a flight rather than just their own aircraft.

The US Marines are putting their ground launched anti ship cruise missiles NSM and Tomahawk, on robotic trucks. Same for HIMARS. The Marines also have unmanned versions of the Kaman K-Max doing external loads to keep Marine units supplied. The US and Royal Navies are both experimenting with unmanned logistics drones. The possibilities are vast.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No one is going to have children only to sacrifice them to the old men's war machine. 

So let me ask a nosey question. If China does someday decide that they have had enough of what they call the Japanese occupation of Okinawa and decide to invade it so they can install their own puppet government and return Okinawa and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands to their former status as a tributary state of China, is fighting China to defend Okinawa sacrificing your children to the old men's war machine?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Nazi's wanted to rely on high tech "wonder" weapons to tip the balance of material superiority and manpower superiority of it's enemies. Those weapons were in many respects, orders of magnitudes better than allied equipment,

Like Russian equipment today a lot of what the Germans brought to the field was not better than the equipment the allies fielded. The Germans never had a long range bomber to match the Lancaster, B-17 or B-24, much less the incredibly sophisticated, high flying and fast B-29 (the B-29 program actually cost more than the whole Manhattan Project). German and Japanese radars were never as good as British (especially) and US radars. The Axis never had anything close to the electronic warfare capabilities of the British. They didn't have long range accurate instrument navigation. The Japanese never mastered flying at night from an aircraft carrier (night raid on Truk using radar to find targets). The Axis never had a remote controlled unmanned bomber (Interstate Aircraft TDR, over 200 of which were used against the Japanese). The Axis never mastered the art of what is called Operations Research, applying mathematical logic and formulas to solve military problems like the ideal number of hours to use a maritime patrol plane based on both human factors and maintenance considerations, base spacing to align with that ideal patrol length, minefield placement, etc. You can model individual engagements, battles or whole campaigns with complex mathematical formulas, bringing in military leaders, logisticians, even economists to consult. It involves a lot of constrained maximization problems, something near and dear to the economist in me. In fact British and American books describing these were not even declassified until the early 2000s.

Interesting aside, Interstate Aircraft, the company that made those TDR UASs used in WWII renamed themselves Interstate Engineering and switched to making vacuums after WWII. Interstate Aircraft had designed and was producing a vacuum tailored for use in airliners for TWA at the request of Howard Hughes After the war demand for aircraft collapsed do they decided to basically change industries and sell the vacuums, called "Compact" back then, to the public. You know this companies vacuums in Japan as they are sold by Fuji Medical Instruments under the Airstream and in one case the Sunstorm brand names. The Fujiclean Airstream EX-60 is their current model.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If we're going to be talking about going to war, we may as well be talking about arming local communities. I can't understand why nobody has mentioned this and Japanese news, soldiers, etc, never consider it an option. When they get past with the missiles the drones and the ships, Japan must make invaders understand that they are coming to fight the people on terrain that gives the armed defenders an advantage naturally.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's manpower-light defense strategy a flawed 'paper plan', officers say

Stands to reason with the LDP in charge. The plan is probably based on what some geriatrics read in their favourite uyoku manga.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It was a good decision, very patriotic and respectful. Its a shame they were so few like him. Cowards!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't worry. The US will help protect their colony conveniently located in front of the communist countries. Maybe have to give up some small southern islands though.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Automation can do many things, but it is people who need to be on the ground. There is no substitution.

The Nazi's wanted to rely on high tech "wonder" weapons to tip the balance of material superiority and manpower superiority of it's enemies. Those weapons were in many respects, orders of magnitudes better than allied equipment, but could not overcome the combination of cheaply mass manufactured equipment used by overwhelming numbers of soldiers.

Modern nations have forgotten some of the simple basics. Those nations with millions of soldiers, if they are armed with simple reliable and deadly weapons and they can remain well equipped with basic equipment for the environment they fight in, plenty of food, fuel and shelter, they are going to be more effective than hardly any troops but fully automated missile systems, artillery and everything else. Enemy troops can infiltrate and take out the few people controlling such systems and destroy them or turn them on their own troops.

My own nation is severely undermanned for a modern military with only 30,000 regular troops in the Army, most of whom are not in combat units, but are support. We would seriously struggle to defend Tasmania let alone the entire nation. They would need to urgently recall soldiers who left the forces and give them fast retraining on more modern equipment to boost numbers quickly. A sad situation that has no end in sight.

This is an opportunity for Japan to increase the size of the Defense forces to man additional equipment and provide training on high tech equipment, maintenance on that equipment and a future outside their defense careers that will make them highly sought after in civilian life. It can be a very rewarding career for many, while others will serve a minimum term and will leave at the first opportunity, but they will be trained and able to be recalled if needed to defend Japan if it is attacked. Better trained than conscripts hastily trained while in a war.

Unfortunately with neighbors in the region building bigger modern militaries and planning for war, Japan must take measures to ensure its safety. Doing so without additional people is simply not doing what is right.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This arms-race policy was decided at closed room meeting by only pro-government experts without even experts of national security or constitution and without deliberation at the Diet.

Japanese mainstream media don't even criticize its undemocratic way, ​only repeated to say the word"historical turning point" in one body with PM. Most influential public broadcast in Japan NHK started even to incite fear against neighbouring countries like wartime propaganda.

This December is also 81 years from attack to Pearl Harbor.

The then "Great Japan Empire" did preemptive attack to enemy country's military base under the name of "self-defense" or "for defending sovereignty of the state", it caused the war that victimized over ​millions only inside Japan during 3.5 years.

But no central media of Japan even mention this historical lesson that should be reference to present policy.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Desert

There are some pretty old men fighting in Ukraine. In the late 1980s I remember our night check Maintenance Senior Chief telling us stories about patching up TBM Avengers shot up during the Mariannas Turkey Shoot (1944). I like to say that age and treachery overcomes youth and strength.

Those old men had previous experience as young men! That is not going to be true in Japan.

Comparing apples to oranges!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is just a paper plan

And, it is intended as a paper plan. All the paperwork needed in order to purchase more US weapons. Japan has NO intention to build a real army.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Old men don't make good soldiers. 

There are some pretty old men fighting in Ukraine. In the late 1980s I remember our night check Maintenance Senior Chief telling us stories about patching up TBM Avengers shot up during the Mariannas Turkey Shoot (1944). I like to say that age and treachery overcomes youth and strength.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Chinese however, will likely outpace Japan as usual.

In numbers perhaps but not in quality. At least not based on what I have seen with my own eyes of the PLAN and JMSDF.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You posted on another thread the Tomahawks require targeting infrastructures, and data, that's not going to come out of thin air. Similarly, you tried to gaslight about the Tomahawks being a strategic or tactical missile. There is no difference, google it, the media differentiate it for nuclear weapons, usually based on range, so even if a journalist had to make a call, which he /she shouldn't a Tomahawk is not a short range missile.

I have worked around Tomahawks off and on for the better part of 35 or 36 years so I have seen their evolution up close and personal. They have always been a tactical weapon, even the nuclear ones way back when. They do not have an intercontinental range and have never in my experience from the US side been considered a strategic weapon. Far from it. The current version is called Tactical Tomahawk for that reason. Very strictly a tactical weapon.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Lots of Kampai and cheering at Japan's weapons manufacturers like MHI.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

eh? Just for the SM3 they're going to have to build 2 x 20,000 tonnes ships, their largest surface combat ships. WIDELY REPORTED in the media.

Sigh, the JMSDF already operates SM-3 Block 1 from all 8 of their AEGIS equipped DDGs. The two most recent ships were qualified for the BMD role last month in a live fire exercise off Hawaii. The Japanese ships and the US Navy's DDG-51 class are all in the 8500-9000 ton range. Spain's and Australia's SM-3 equipped DDGs are smaller. Same radar, just fewer VLS cells on a smaller hull. Canada plans to use them from their new class of frigates that will ship AN/SPY-7 radars. Japan is co-developing SM-3 Block 2 and it is highly successful.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Old men don't make for good soldiers, but battle robots do.

The Chinese will show us the way.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Demographics doom Japan. Old men don't make good soldiers. Whiz bang technology only goes so far. Some poor slug has to man trenches and do the grunt work which is 99% of what real war is. Japan just doesn't have enough of anything natural or human resource wise to put up much after the shiny expensive stuff is excreted. Poor Japan in a real fight.

a recruitment event this month at an air base near Tokyo. He was one of only 11 people who attended the event.

‘That’s a telling part of the story. Can you call something an event with only 12 participants?

Offer incentives like Tuition wavers, lower interest rates on home loans, reduced housing cost for Veterans after service, and allow 15 to 20% discount on bought goods and if necessary conscript for a couple of years as a duty to the Nation of Japan after High School.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

a recruitment event this month at an air base near Tokyo. He was one of only 11 people who attended the event.

‘That’s a telling part of the story. Can you call something an event with only 12 participants?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Can you hear that? It's the sound of minimum mandatory military service. Available in Taiwan and China and soon Japan.

Not necessarily anything wrong with it from a personal development perspective however anything feeding the militarily industrial complex at this point is something to be avoided as is the propaganda.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think Terminator style fighting robots should be added to supplement Japan's fighting capabilities.

The Chinese however, will likely outpace Japan as usual.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Told you. Pouring all of our money into weapons that will be defending nothing but empty rocks, and in the process putting people so much in debt, and costs so high, that no one wants to have children to create said manpower.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

LDP will continue to demonize other countries and frame it as "us against them" to push mandatory conscription through.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

He’s of course right, but currently there’s no other option with those all time low birth rates in an aging society. Possibilities are very much limited to rely on very few personnel equipped with best available technology. Of course a more balanced attempt would be much better, but that best option, many servicemen plus outnumbering weapons in highest technological advanced levels, that’s the real illusion and paper tiger.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Ukraine-style long-slog proxy wars are fought by choice. The option to directly target Putin and the Russian government, with targeting of strategic assets in Russia, would have required a relatively tiny number of insurgents and ended the war months ago.

Japan can choose the direct, manpower-light alternative if it is the only option on the table. That's why they have a station/bunker so deep under the Diet. Head for the bunker, direct targeting of the enemy, last government standing wins.

I doubt national service is an option. It creates cannon fodder with little military benefit and lots of extra problems. Plus it may be the only thing that would see the LDP lose power. If push comes to shove, the JP government will either rely on the US (pay that much, you may as well get your moneys worth) or obtain their own nukes.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan doesn't need to add a lot of personnel to add Tomahawks, JASSM-ERs or SM-3 to their arsenal.

eh? Just for the SM3 they're going to have to build 2 x 20,000 tonnes ships, their largest surface combat ships. WIDELY REPORTED in the media.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Maritime_Self-Defense_Force

I am not sure what your motivations are, but I 'personally' find your posts either argumentative or at times down right gaslighting, and you hide behind them with technical designations (more relevant on a military armament than on a generic Japanese culture forum).

You posted on another thread the Tomahawks require targeting infrastructures, and data, that's not going to come out of thin air. Similarly, you tried to gaslight about the Tomahawks being a strategic or tactical missile. There is no difference, google it, the media differentiate it for nuclear weapons, usually based on range, so even if a journalist had to make a call, which he /she shouldn't a Tomahawk is not a short range missile.

Most of all, what irks me most is you made a call on this story contradicting experts without any rationale nor example, like you always do, and often just for argument sake. Come on DT, we appreciate your knowledge, but you don't have to argue everything, and if you did argue, show us some examples or facts to back up your proposition.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There are no enlistments in the SDFs. They are all special civil servants who can just resign and leave. 230,000 people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan doesn't need to add a lot of personnel to add Tomahawks, JASSM-ERs or SM-3 to their arsenal. Pretty much all of the advanced nations face manpower constraints in their armed forces. All are looking to automation to reduce manpower requirements in maintenance, ships crews and other warfare specialties.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

NO Problem, Just look at what the Ukrainians are doing to Russia, outnumbered, out armed, and out sized. but they were able to push Russia back, free their capital and hold it.

This is 'True' only if you ignore the massive NATO logistic and intelligence machine that support and sustain Ukrainian front line forces.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

NO Problem, Just look at what the Ukrainians are doing to Russia, outnumbered, out armed, and out sized. but they were able to push Russia back, free their capital and hold it.

It's how many soldiers any more, but how advanced and how high of a MORAL your troops got.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Dude's seriously expecting us to believe a land invasion from China or, gasp, NK is imminent. LMAO. Sure, let's sink another 50B of taxpayer money annually to rearm back to WW2 levels for "defense".

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Such a strategy will not stop the military might of China.

Japan would be crushed.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Technology can provide greater capability and lower staffing levels in some areas and in others you need that manpower equipped with the requisite technology to make them effective. Japan needs to have the necessary manpower in the right areas equipped with the most effective tools for the job. To achieve that they have to ensure that the pay, conditions and training/education/skills developement are fit for purpose and competitive in the market.

It may well be that in light of changing circumstances there is a need to revise the way the forces will fight and update and reassess the weapons and tools they will need. New technologies and new areas of threat, all requiring a balanced mix of tools and personnel and training.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Its interesting that this headline is right next to one announcing we have slid below the 800 thousand birth mark for the first time ever.

Yes, very, I'm sure Japan's weaknesses whether it's defense capability, demographics, lack of resources in a deglobalised world...they're massive challenges for Japan for the next 5 decades at least.

BTW, I agree with the sentiments of this story, standoff war fighting does not necessarily mean man-off, if anything it will probably require more man power to do so, not least because you need at least an operator, AND a network operator.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The proposed changes to article 9, were the talking point but there are other changes as part of the package, an ability for the government to bring in conscription being one of them, amongst many.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The constitution prevents conscription.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Conscription is next.

One idea floated earlier is that large companies hiring new graduates for full-time permanent positions would assign their hires to serve at national military for 2 years minimum, and new hires would be pressured to accept given their service is tied to their getting much coveted permanent positions with large corporations.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Its interesting that this headline is right next to one announcing we have slid below the 800 thousand birth mark for the first time ever.

This is just another way in which the government’s failure to solve the demographic crisis is screwing the country over.

I suppose the only bright spot is that all the countries Japan might have a dispute with also have the same problem.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So Japan's military buildup means personnel buildup such as more salary and benefits for recruits. Of course that's important.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The SDF only need to build 12 Gundams and they can fight any invasion..

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This article is part of the push to remilitarize Japan.

Mandatory national service coming in the future.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

the soldier will ALWAYS be the backbone of the military. Thinking that automation will solve everything is ridiculous.

PLUS you have another problem which is cybersecurity. Japan is woefully behind China, N Korea, and Russia in that sector, and when you add the fact that they are talking about more automation, you are talking about a recipe for disaster.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

This issue was identified in the "Foreign Affairs" journal at least 25 years ago.

The problem of recruitment is compounded by the fall in youth population.

The military needs (and will continue to need) young, healthy, well educated recruits.

In a shrinking pool of people to draw on this is exactly what industry needs and industry will pay better.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

"If the Japanese think automation...is going to make up for the personnel disaster they've got, they can forget about it," said Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies who served as a USMC liaison officer to the SDF.

Mr. Newsham might have some personal bias.

Recent ongoing conflicts have shown cases where asymmetrical warfare using drones can be highly effective.

With the news about the birthrate and the LDPs neo-feudalistic policies I do not think Japan's personnel disaster will be solved soon.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

This is what I have been saying all along and I am no military or security expert. There's a reason why the US military (army and navy at least) have plenty of TV ads talking about technical training and developing job skills.

I'm not necessarily saying Japan needs TV ads, rather there needs to be a well thought out strategy to recruit talented youth.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

National service is coming,ala South Korea,I reckon.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

The will of the politicians over rides once again the experts and the realities of the situation.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

No, i think is a good plan. Quality over quantity. The officers are confuse. This isn't about the army expanding for aggressive attacks. This is increasing the national defense. Increasing numbers of troops is not a good sign when it comes to self defense. Never again will we ever take part in wars. The US can forget about if they think they can drag us to a war.

Not to mention the current self defense troops lacks a lot of things. The pay is terrible and there is not a lot of family support. Government should instead focus on all these aspect before ever thinking of having more troops. Currently most of the self defense force are not even fully equip with all the necessary gears.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Paper Tiger plan ,I guess

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

Japanese do not have 5 years,but only 5 minutes even from Sohae Satellite Launching Center, Japanese lives 5 minutes to Midnight

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

Japan's plan to undertake its biggest military build-up since World War II without increasing head count is flawed,

In Japan everything is about paper and budget, no reality check.

0 ( +24 / -24 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites