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Japan seeks biggest defense budget rise in 22 years

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By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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51 Comments
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Somebody keeps putting wood in the fire.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Well done China! The U.S. has been pressuring Japan to go this way since 1950 with no success. But it only took China just a few years to burn up their Sino-Japan Treaty of Friendship of 1972/78, burn their cars and stores, whine incessantly about WWII, ignore the apologies they have received, trash all the goodwill that took decades to build, openly talk about preparing for war and attempting to steal their territory to finally break Japan out of it's "heiwa-boke". Xie xie!

16 ( +28 / -12 )

We have to increase our defense budget and strengthen our defense power in prepariation for the time U.S. Forces withdrawal from Japan. Senkaku trouble proved U.S. Forces in Japan is not a very much help for us despite we spend a lot of money for them particularly for those stationed on Okinawa which is closer to Senkaku. The money should be spent for SDF and defend our country by ourself.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

This article lacks a graph which would show that for some 10+ consecutive years the defense budget has been reduced. Now it could only get back to the amount which was used some 5-6 years ago. And drafts are drafts - it will be much discussed way in and out before the actual budget will be approved.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

More toys for little boys.

Cue babies in little sailor suits and J Marines animé.

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

4.82 trillion yen in budget

Just use that silly amount of money to solve and clean Cherno...err Fukushima.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

No worries here. The budget request always settles down in line with the prior year.This is not something that is unique to the Defense Ministry.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If Japan returned China's property back, China and Japan could agree on borderlines, procedures for inadvertent intrusions, etc. Then Japan could scale back on such spending, and the savings could be more than what they are actually getting out of this quarreling. And no, the islands do not belong Japan. Even Japanese scholars and historians like Tadayoshi Murata of Yokohama National University, and Kiyoshi Inoue of Kyoto University have expressed their views and written books about the fact that they belong to China.

http://www.skycitygallery.com/japan/diaohist.html

Marting Lohmeyer also proved this point to certain extent:

http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/4085/1/thesis_fulltext.pdf

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

If there were Japanese living on these islands in the past, why doesn't Japan just station some troops on them, the same China has done with , I believe the Spratly Islands. If Japan does not do this, we already witnessed that China will. Time to stop the China expansionism in all of Asia, at least put up some sort of barrier that China will have to think twice about instead of China having free will with everyone, as they did with the Philippines. Then start boycotting Chinese made products, and watch China's growth rate slow more and more, as again, China pulled on Japan with the rare earths a couple of years ago.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

avigatorAug. 31, 2013 - 08:09AM JST If Japan returned China's property back

You mean if China would stop trying to steal other countries; territories.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

But it only took China just a few years to burn up their Sino-Japan Treaty of Friendship of 1972/78, burn their cars and stores, whine incessantly about WWII, ignore the apologies they have received, trash all the goodwill that took decades to build, openly talk about preparing for war and attempting to steal their territory to finally break Japan out of it's "heiwa-boke".

Oh, honestly. When for every apology made there's a whole crowd of Japanese right-wing nationalist politicians wanting to retract it because they say Japanese never did any of the things they're apologizing for, what do you expect? World War II happened because Britain and France were too hard on the Germans in 1919 and then far too soft the 1930s. China shouldn't make the same mistake, and Abe and his pals should be more careful with the macho posturing. If the mess Japanese politicians have made of the economy and cleaning up after the Tohuku disaster is any indication, I dread to think what'll happen if they end up in another war.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Well, let's hope this time the Finance Ministry would let it through. Do they take responsibility for ANYTHING anyway? One would think since they aren't responsible for the country's defense, educational and other potentials, they would at least be responsible for maintaining a balanced budge, but they aren't doing that either (frustrated)...

Murata & Inoue show the nice and bad bits of Japan (compared to China). It is a democracy with pluralistiic views. It is NOT an advantage on days like this. Lohmeyer needs to write a thesis, and you can't make a worthy thesis out of the Japanese case - it'll be 5 pages long because the case is so simple.

Yeah, tvytgoUS, you are right the Japanese should just take a one time pain and just stick something solid onto those islands. The problem is that in a democracy, either the politicians run things or the bureaucrats. Neither really wants the pain on their watch. China, being a dictatorship, is clearly able to accept more one-time pains (helped by the world's lack of willingness to issue solid punishments for its aggressions).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It suits China to have Japan as an enemy, not a friend; repressive, authoritarian governments always need "outside enemies" to maintain their hold on power. China has never observed any treaties, conventions, or protocols it signed except when it suits them, so why would they honor the Sino-Japan Treaty of Friendship? Nothing will change until China gets an elected, democratic government and the chances of that are remote. If Japan wants to defend itself it has no choice but to build up its military.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

This makes good sense. After all, Japan's just got TONS of extra cash lying around. They've gotta spend it on something, right?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If Japan wants to defend itself it has no choice but to build up its military.

From what? Japan is an island. China in reality is no threat. This money should be used to help the people of Japan and not the war mongers.

It suits China to have Japan as an enemy, not a friend; repressive, authoritarian governments always need "outside enemies" to maintain their hold on power.

-absolutely true and all the more reason not to build up a military. China has huge issues with the massive populace being number one, and pollution and water being number 2. In reality Japan has much easier issues to deal with. Even South Korea has larger real issues than Japan -yet they don't live in fear of war.

=This fear is unjustified no matter what China threatens with.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan isn't building up anything. It's a natural transition cycle of decommissioning old equipment and replacing them with new ones to maintain readiness. Izumo was just a part of that cycle. JMSDF has two other high profile flag ships that were built in the early 80's that is scheduled to be replaced and number of frigates that are scheduled to be replaced as well. JASDF are also are replacing the old F-4EJ and F-4EJK as well as preparing to replace the fleet of F-15Js testing the ATD-X scheduled for first test flight next year.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

"with most of the growth linked to revised personnel costs and equipment imports made more expensive by a weaker yen."

This is an important point.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

avigator:

*If Tadayoshi Murata of Yokohama National University, and Kiyoshi Inoue really said , the islands do not belong Japan.

I must say they have ignored International law.

According to the law,

Firstly, title based on contiguity has no standing in international law.

Secondly, title by discovery is only an inchoate title.

Finally, if another sovereign begins to exercise continuous and actual sovereignty, (and the arbitrator required that the claim had to be open and public and with good title), and the discoverer does not contest this claim, the claim by the sovereign that exercises authority is greater than a title based on mere discovery.

When did China used the islands?Has any Chinese people lived there? There is no way to prove China found the islands without latitude/longitude. Even if I accepted China's claim that China founded the island 500 years ago, it means nothing to affect its sovereignty. Japan had a bonito flake factory there since 1895 till 1941 that happened after had been confirming all neighboring countries the TERRA NULLIUS status of islands before Japan made it as the part of Okinawa.

Why China did not say anything while the islands were used as a US bombing range and shooting drills in the 50,60s? If that had been China, did the US take over China? Using Chinese soil to bomb? Makes no sense.

I could think of at least 40 reasons that I can point out the contradiction of China's claim of today. Many Japanese remember that the right after the potential oil was found. The official Chinese maps was changed in 1971 from Senkakku to Chinese name and borderline was removed.

The main topic of this article is Japan's defense budget rise. Your point is deviated from it. Japan has reduced the budget for long time. It is normal to get new systems every once a while to maintain our system can keep up with the current technology.

You are mentioning some diplomatic overture between two nations, the bast way to do so is talk not returned China's property back that Japan does not have. China keeps refusing for a face to face meeting with Prime minister Abe. If China had enough confidence about the issue that you are concerned, why China would keep refusing. Since the issue started, Japan has never closed the door. I am sure that if the meeting happens, Abe will explain to China cleanly what Japan's intention to increase the budget this time. I much prefer that China sue Japan to ICJ instead of China keep sending military ships in Japan territory. I am not sure if Japan go for it or not. But at least China will have a chance to declare the issue to the world. I hope China will not rely on the power but law to resolve the issue with civilized manner.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

First of all, Japan's military spending is still too little. It needs to be at or above 3% of its total GDP.

Second, is the Coast Guard part of the Military defense or a different ministry? I'm not familiar with how the funding would work.

Third, Chinese ain't stupid. There is zero chance that they don't foresee an increase in military spending in Japan. And I will bet anything that they absolutely saw this coming. The question then remains, why did they push Japan this far and what are they gaining out of it?

I can think of one thing, if Japan enters into the arms race, it will make US very happy, thus making me very happy. And also making the PLA very happy as they will get the excuse to increase funding as Japan just provided them with a reason to. So win win win for everyone.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

highball7

The Japan Coast Guard is under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and is funded from different budget.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

good

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Thank you SB, that's what I thought. I remembered they are from different ministries.

So the Japan Coast Guard has nothing to do with the Defense budget increase does it? IF so, why mention it in the article? Or better yet, why not increase the budget spending for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and specifically for the JCG?

This is where Japan is kicking itself. By increasing defense budget targeting on the disputed islands, if that is the fact, then Japan is basically saying its an international matter. But by increasing budget for the JCG, you're saying its an internal matter. See the difference?

And putting the funding on JCG actually serves the purpose of alleviating the stress within the JCG on these patrols. So maybe on top of the defense increase, think about the JCG as well?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

highball7

It states clearly in the article that the Coast Guard's request for increase of budget is 13% for the next fiscal year.

Japan’s Coast Guard, whose ships are playing cat-and-mouse with Chinese vessels around the disputed islets, is requesting a 13% increase in funding to 196.3 billion yen for the next fiscal year as it builds new patrol ships and piers.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

good for japan, should have flexed those military muscles a decade ago then would not have had to rush into it. But better late than never.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Damn, how did I miss that. I need to get an eye exam. Nevermind. That is a very good move.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Concerning the Coast Guard personnel expansion, they are so desperate that they are going to prolong retirement age and reinstate people that had retired in the past 3~5 years.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It all ends up on who has the better economy. Japan raise their budget, so can China. The question is how much they can afford to maintain such spending.

China's economy is larger and growing faster than Japan, the longer it goes, the more money they have to increase their military power which would widen the gap even further unless Japan able to catch up with China's GDP.

The Soviet Union lost to the US and collapsed not due to military but economic power. I believe we are looking at a similar scenario between China and Japan. Which would end up like the previous USSR, we can only wait and see.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

neobios

PRC has a considerable amount of catch up to do in terms of weapon technology as well as industrial engineering in general. PRC also has three fronts to cover which is under dispute while Japan only has one and a half(South China sea against PRC and the Korean peninsula which ROK acts as shield). PRC also needs to contest USA in terms of budget spending.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

SamuraiBlue

The difference between China during World War II and the current one is very different when it comes to military power. They have put a man in space and building a bigger space station. They have current most powerful supercomputer, they are developing better drones, stealth fighters and even their own engines as well other crucial components. They are building more aircraft carrier as well researching anti ship missiles. They have the capability to destroy satellites. They also have many navigation satellites in the orbit.

If we are talking full scale war does Japan really has the ability to defend those small islands? If it was like 50 years ago I think Japan can even invade and hold on to a few provinces in China for quite some time. China's military may not be the best but as their economy grows stronger it is evident such gap would become narrower each day.

PRC has only one important front which is Japan as others like India and Philippines are on a different level and they are not disputing the islands except Taiwan. PRC do not need to concern about USA unless they make mistakes which allows USA to intervene but as we all can see, China isn't falling for such trap and willing to play cat and mouse as mentioned in this article. As long Japan unable to have full possession on those islands, China in my opinion is pretty satisfied at this moment.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

That is the inevitable blow-back from Chinas massive armament program and Chinas continued aggression towards Japan and other neighbours. Nothing unsurprising here. And should the US military presence in Japan be reduced, all stops will be pulled.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

neobios

If we are talking full scale war does Japan really has the ability to defend those small islands?

Let's look at it this way, if PRC was confident in taking the islands with force they would have done it already. The simple fact they had not dare try such adventurous military event is proof that PRC does not see that they can.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

it is time to build space stations and move they just in case of disasters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue

If China took the island by force then what is the meaning of dispute and negotiation? No offense, that is the bait and you going to fall for it?

By your logic, if Japan was confident enough they would chase those patrol ships away and build something around those islands but since they can't do anything much about it does it proof Japan's military cannot stand against China?

The trap here is firing the first shot. Do you remember Japan considering of fire warning shots at Chinese planes. What happened when China response that Japan would bear the consequences? Japan did not took the bait.

What happens when one of them took the bait? An excuse for the other to do the same but take note the aggressor is always at the fault if you know what I mean.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Simon FostonAug. 31, 2013 - 09:28AM JST Oh, honestly. When for every apology made there's a whole crowd of Japanese right-wing nationalist politicians >wanting to retract it because they say Japanese never did any of the things they're apologizing for, what do you >expect?

I would expect normal people to think and consider that official treaties between governments of sovereign states mean something. Whereas what domestic politicians say or do, entirely within their own country has no relevance at all. When has Japan ever retracted an apology that as given? Never. The only reason you can harp on this is because Japan being a democracy has politicians of different views and they have the right to express their opinions. Something we can not say for China. Should the opinions of "some" politicians somehow override the official position of the government? Of course not. Let's be honest, not one Chinese person is harmed or threatened, not one piece of Chinese property is damaged or destroyed, not one iota of anti-Chinese sentiment is raised by a Japanese politician visiting a shrine to pay respects for all war dead in Japan's modern times starting in the late 1800s. How does that compare to anti-Japanese riots, destruction of Japanese property, assault on Japanese nationals, threats of war? There really is no comparison to any rational thinking person.

badsey3Aug. 31, 2013 - 10:27AM JST "If Japan wants to defend itself it has no choice but to build up its military. From what? Japan is an island. China in reality is no threat

All of ASEAN disagrees with you. So does the US, Australia, India, etc.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Japan already gives $3 billion a year to the stationed US forces. Are they cutting down on that?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@neobias

Remember this?

2013-02-05 12:14:56 GMT2013-02-05 20:14:56 (Beijing Time) SINA.com Japan lodged a formal protest with the Chinese government on Tuesday after it said a Chinese warship directed a radar used to aim missiles at a Japanese warship, Kyodo News Agency reported late Tuesday. The Japanese defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, said that a Chinese navy frigate had directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese destroyer in the incident on Jan. 30 near the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. "Beaming of radar for firing is very abnormal, and it could have put us in a very grave situation if things went wrong," Onodera told a press conference, urging the Chinese side to refrain from taking such moves. On Tuesday, the Japanese Defense Ministry also disclosed that a Chinese frigate had directed the same kind of radar at a Japanese military helicopter in a previously undisclosed incident on Jan. 19. In both cases, the Chinese ships eventually turned off the radar without actually firing a shot, said the report.

Using fire-control radar is much more than a warning shot. It is an undeniable threat of attack.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan's ignoring and trying to rewrite the history of her past war atrocities. The result is increasing nationalism and military aggression. This will not sit well for her neighbours. I can see escalating tensions in the region as China, Russia, etc. try to counter Japanese aggression.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Japan is responding to China's military and territorial expansion. So is all of Asia. So is the United States. Japan isn't "re-writing" anything, it's being forced to re-arm due to China's continued belligerence. The only country that has a serious problem with it is China. Russia couldn't carte less. The whole free world is moving to counter China's aggression.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

That is the inevitable blow-back from China's massive armament program and China's continued aggression towards Japan and other neighbours.

China military is directed at controlling it's own people. Japan's military is directed at outward threats. ==> That is a huge difference and with China always on the ropes with it's own people it truly is a waiting game with a sense of balance. It is almost foolish to believe that China is a threat to Japan when the threat to China is in reality it's own people. It takes huge resources for China just to control their own whereas Japan saves by having to spend literally $0. In this sense it is almost comical comparing China to Japan.

This battle is similar to NK/SK. => You would think SK is threatened by NK, but the reality is they are not and in fact would enjoy having NK economically (historically NK has more resources). This is a political poker game.

Japan needs to spend their money on their own and making Japan better and cheaper (cost-wise) for it's populace. War-Mongering only drives up costs and proves wasteful.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It is almost foolish to believe that China is a threat to Japan

Really, badsey? What about all those intentional and provocative incursions by Chinese vessels into Japanese waters?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

'Chinese vessels into Japanese waters'? Correction, they are disputed waters.

China needs not take any action other than waiting for Japan to self destruction with continuous Fukushima leak. Abe is a warmonger from the family of war criminals. He prefers weapons than saving lives.

The inability to fix Fukushima leak after so much elapsed time by a so called wealthy and highly tech country and the self denial on the extent of the leak just make Japan a laughing stock of the world.

Remember the ocean affected is a 'shared' one, not owned by Japan. Take your responsibility seriously.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The only reason you can harp on this is because Japan being a democracy has politicians of different views and they have the right to express their opinions. Something we can not say for China. Should the opinions of "some" politicians somehow override the official position of the government?

The right to express their opinions? Pah. It's clear from the press clubs (membership restricted to reporters who say what politicians like), attempts to censor NHK documentaries and recalls of textbooks that promote a "masochistic" view of history that they're not too keen to extend that right to just anyone. Anyway, it's not as if these are just a few isolated daft old men that nobody ever really takes seriously, like the Duke of Edinburgh and all the stuff he comes out with. They're often mayors, governors and senior members of the government, and nothing they say is ever condemned or criticised - at least, not by anyone they have to take notice of. They might well think they're tapping into the public mood, and so might the Chinese. Who, incidentally, I don't need pious lectures about. The Cultural Revolution and Tiannamen Square tells me everything I need to know about the leadership of the PRC. But if they do anything to stop Japan from getting into another war that Japan's leaders will mess up as badly as they did the last one, I'm not objecting.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

neobios

By your logic, if Japan was confident enough they would chase those patrol ships away and build something around those islands but since they can't do anything much about it does it proof Japan's military cannot stand against China?

Unlike PRC, Japan wants to defuse tension not build it up by constantly contesting challenging Japan by intruding Japanese territorial sea.

Another point would be Japan is more worried of another rioting mob trashing Japanese property within China. Something Chinese corporations has no worry of here in Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Another point would be Japan is more worried of another rioting mob trashing Japanese property within China. Something Chinese corporations has no worry of here in Japan.

What, with rightist protest marches, death threats against Japanese who condemn Japan's wartime activities, 14-year old girls saying Koreans should leave Japan or be massacred and a government that's kind of slow to condemn that sort of stuff? I wouldn't be so sure. Just give it time.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

SamuraiBlue

Unlike PRC, Japan wants to defuse tension not build it up by constantly contesting challenging Japan by intruding Japanese territorial sea.

Another point would be Japan is more worried of another rioting mob trashing Japanese property within China. Something Chinese corporations has no worry of here in Japan.

I'm sorry if I may sound harsh but do you understand the difference between disputed and non-disputed? Remember when a Chinese fisherman enter Japanese waters which was not in dispute? All goes well and yes you can find the article in JapanToday, no riots, no objection, just the usual.

You said Japan is worried about another riot but not China which you actually helped me to prove my point earlier:

It all ends up on who has the better economy. Japan raise their budget, so can China. The question is how much they can afford to maintain such spending.

If Japan decided to let go its largest market for the sake of those tiny islands, how are they going to maintain their military budget? Japan still need China's market for their economic growth as there's no simple alternatives otherwise what the heck they are still staying there as you said about the riots. China obviously on the other hand can afford to lose Japan's market.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Disputed?

Strange we have not heard of PRC making any request for arbitration to an international organization like ICJ although we hear a lot of chest thumping from PRC mouth pieces making threats.

As for PRC's economy, are you talking about a nation that cooks it's books so much that no one can make heads or tails about it in which corrupt bureaucrats are all seeking immigration to another country to escape prosecution due to constructing ghost towns where there are more cleaning personnel then residents and lets not forget the honest uni graduates that are dubbed pack rats because they are not connected, can't find a job and are forced to share a flat with 10 or more people. There are worse called the ant people as well.

Yeah, PRC's economy does look so rosy, not.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The whole free world is moving to counter China's aggression.

Oh, Bravo. Hooray for us. Is it doing any good yet?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

SamuraiBlue

You can voice whatever you want but the reality is the world is not doing anything towards the issue.

The fact is both are still in the game which means their economy is still kicking regardless whatever negative stuffs you can find for both of them and as I mentioned only when one of them collapse financially then I believe we might see some new developments on the issue.

It's between Japan and China only, nothing else, no ICJ, no US intervention, no compromise, no backing out, just two of them playing cat and mouse unless someone took the bait which in my opinion very unlikely to happen.

That is why I believe economic warfare is the most likely thing that would change the current status of the dispute and not to say it's a good thing but better than conventional warfare.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Simon FostonSep. 01, 2013 - 03:21PM JST "The whole free world is moving to counter China's aggression."

Oh, Bravo. Hooray for us. Is it doing any good yet?

Yes so it is. You haven't heard of China starting any wars yet right?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is another way to neglect Fukushima. North Korea is a far smaller danger than Tepco right now.

Money that should be going to caring for the people in Japan is going to something useless. North Korea is already weaker than Japan, even without the US. China is going to be more powerful no matter what Japan does. But Japan for China is a shopping mall, first and foremost.

The biggest enemy Japan faces is the enemy within: Abe, the LDP and the right-wing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good. It's about time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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