Prime Minister Kishida will lead the ruling party into general elections at the end of October Photo: AFP/File
politics

LDP seeks defense spending boost beyond 2% of GDP

69 Comments

Japan's ruling conservatives unveiled their campaign platform Tuesday, saying they would aim to boost defense spending, possibly even doubling it, to counter threats from China and North Korea.

The long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, led by new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is campaigning to maintain its majority in parliament in Oct 31 elections.

It announced pledges on Tuesday including tackling the pandemic and working to boost the middle class.

The party, while not directly naming China, also promised to "seek responsible actions" over human rights issues related to the Uyghurs, Tibet, ethnic Mongolians and Hong Kong.

And it laid out longer-term policy goals including expanding Japan's defense budget beyond two percent of GDP, a ratio that would put it on par with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the party said.

That would mark a departure from Japan's political tradition of capping defense spending below one percent of its GDP, which stands around $5 trillion.

The Japanese defense ministry is currently asking for around $50 billion for the coming fiscal year from April.

"We are demonstrating our resolve to defend the Japanese people's lives, property, territory, territorial waters, territorial airspace, sovereignty and national honor," Sanae Takaichi, the party's policy chief, told a press conference.

"We will offer policies that will result in firm diplomacy and stronger defense capacity," added Takaichi, a staunch nationalist.

The party said it would continue to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, adding that Japan should, in the long term, boost deterrence including the ability to disable missiles from hostile nations.

The status of Japan's military is a sensitive issue as the post-war constitution limits it to a defensive role.

The LDP said it would continue efforts to revise the pacifist document to clarify the status of the military, though the party has struggled to win support for such a move.

Japan's military budget has been rising steadily but gradually for about a decade, and the defense ministry's latest request warns that "the security environment surrounding our country is increasingly severe".

Kishida officially replaced Yoshihide Suga as prime minister last week and has called for redistribution of wealth and corporate wage increases.

The soft-spoken politician is seen as a dovish centrist and served as foreign minister from 2012 to 2017, with a brief stint as the defense minister also in 2017.

The LDP is expected to retain a majority in parliament, with the opposition still weak and fragmented.

© 2021 AFP

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"possibly even doubling it."

That's a huge amount of money. So much for the LDP's promises a few months ago of "fiscal responsibility." At least the Biden crew want to up their spending on infrastructure and social services.

-3 ( +18 / -21 )

And who will man these “defence” machines? Recruiting is now below the needed levels required.But as the article suggests a constitutional change is the aim. Not just article 9, but sweeping changes including conscription. A seldom spoken about Nippon Kaigie focus. I have no problem with increasing defence spending but not / when at the cost of social services, infrastructure maintenance. And it’s ok to defend but what are they defending? A recourse poor country, a population that hasn’t had a wage rise in decades? A one party corrupt government. Make Japan worth defending first, then spend the money to defend what has been achieved.

0 ( +18 / -18 )

It announced pledges on Tuesday including tackling the pandemic and working to boost the middle class.

We're all still waiting to hear where the government will start planting magic money-trees to finance all this...And while they're at it, showing us their cunning plan would be nice.

"We are demonstrating our resolve to defend the Japanese people's lives, property, territory, territorial waters, territorial airspace, sovereignty and national honor," Sanae Takaichi, the party's policy chief, told a press conference.

"We will offer policies that will result in firm diplomacy and stronger defense capacity," added Takaichi, a staunch nationalist.

Not want to sound pushy, but (again) where is the money going to come from, what is going to be done with it and what is the overall plan?

The LDP is expected to retain a majority in parliament, with the opposition still weak and fragmented.

© 2021 AFP

I'm increasingly interested in knowing more about AFP as they seem to aim at out-besting Kyodo these days.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Yesterday economic growth before tax changes (not giving the majority of tax payers some extra money). Today spend trillions extra on weapons. Can evil really be presented as so benign?

0 ( +16 / -16 )

Given the overtly aggressive behaviour of China and the unstable lunatic regime in North Korea not to mention land grabbing opportunistic behaviour of Russia the perceived need to strengthen defence is understandable but affordability is an important factor.

Japan needs to have a clear plan of what it needs to defend against and how it will do that in conjunction with its allies and from that what equipment it needs/can afford.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Probably a wise move.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

englisc aspyrgendToday  07:29 am JST

Japan needs to have a clear plan of what it needs to defend against and how it will do that in conjunction with its allies and from that what equipment it needs/can afford.

You can't expect Dad's Army to have much of a clue about that kind of thing.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

kishida and his party are so full of crap.

First, its narrow the gap between rich and poor. Second its Oh we'll do that just as soon as we get the economy going. And now its we'll double our military spending.

They have 0 intention of doing anything to help the working class. 0

I really hope the Japanese people wake up and vote these muppets out of office

-3 ( +18 / -21 )

Well. If we don't pretend like some of the above users of not knowing about N. Korea and the Kim family threatening Japan with Nuclear destruction, abduction, fire missiles over Japan.

Xi Emperor for Life trying to use force and bullying neighbors, Indian soldiers killed at the border, Taiwan being threatened daily, Japan threatened with Nuclear destruction.

Russia under Putin. Same country and leader who attacked Ukraine less then a decade and took Crimea by force. Still holds 4 Japanese Islands.

Why...... oh Why is Japan doing, Why oh Why is the narrative on JT, while Ignoring The Big Elephants in the Room and Their Aggressive Behavior for Decades Now.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

Well, the Afghan money spigot that sustained the American military industrial complex for the last 20 years has been switched off, so their money's got to come from somewhere. How wonderful that it'll come from our tax payments.

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

With the daily extreme warlike behaviour of Communist China - likely to start a war in the region within months - it is absolutely necessary to massively increase defense spending. Likewise, recruitment of JSDF members will need to be ramped up in the colleges and universities around Japan.

Japan cannot simply stand by passively as China takes Taiwan. What next then? Okinawa?

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

love the "diversity" in this country. it is wonderful

1 ( +8 / -7 )

"Back to the past" ..... that's what it looks more and more.

A feudal system with LDP folks governing.

Spending and wasting money when and where ever they can.

Trying to display power, the way some of their neighboring countries do.

Of course there is nothing else to expect with people like Takaichi and alike at the top.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

If they can afford more money for the defense budget, surely they could do the same for Japan's welfare system for the youth. $50 billion a year could net $3000 per annum for every Japanese kid about to enter the job market. And given the state of the Japanese gig economy for the past 30 years and the rise of temp work, they will need that money more then ever.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Didn't Kishida say one of his top priorities is fighting the Corona Virus?

How about to start with wearing a mask?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

We are demonstrating our resolve to defend the Japanese people's lives

They're not under threat from the outside. This is textbook populist talk. If anything costs and will cost lives within Japan, it's the growing wealth gap that these "conservatives" are responsible for.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Nippon Japan is no more than a paper tiger, that get their marching order from the US, Taiwan lady leader has more deterrent than paper tiger Japanese politican

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Back to project fear again, The evil neighbor is threatening us so let's prepare for an attack.

Now dig in to your pockets to help us save you from the war that's coming

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Good.

Japan should increase it to 5%.

It's Japan's Dosh to do as they please.

Gaijin can go suck if unhappy about that.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Good news for the US Japan defense contractors. Gap between the haves and have nots increases.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Fighto!Today  07:52 am JST

Likewise, recruitment of JSDF members will need to be ramped up in the colleges and universities around Japan.

I trust such a fine, upstanding patriot as yourself will be first in line at the recruiting office to sign up for getting shot, stabbed, hacked to pieces or blown to bits for the sake of your nation. Or if you can't join up yourself for whatever reason why not recommend the SDF to a friend or family member?

1 ( +15 / -14 )

mobius217Today  08:13 am JST

If they can afford more money for the defense budget, surely they could do the same for Japan's welfare system for the youth.

There's not so much support or votes to be gleaned from fixing the welfare system. It's much less of a hassle to just throw money at arms dealers, and even if they don't have work, money, food or healthcare at least young people can feel proud of all the new and shiny guns, missiles, warplanes, warships and tanks the politicians will be buying.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

""It announced pledges on Tuesday including tackling the pandemic and working to boost the middle class.""

Lets do these 2 first then start trashing money on useless war machines.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

I can only guess that fixing all the canopies will prove to be a very expensive task then?

https://japantoday.com/category/national/SDF-fighter-jet-loses-90-kg-cockpit-canopy-in-mid-flight

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Meanwhile, Kishida can no longer give more

money to the public until there is “guaranteed growth”. They’ll ram through this spending, though.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

Not want to sound pushy, but (again) where is the money going to come from, what is going to be done with it and what is the overall plan?

Here's how that works: you push a button on a computer and create money instantly, then you transfer it digitally to Friends of Abe (FoA) and that's the overall plan.

It's not a defense plan, it's a jobs plan.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

In response to rising poverty, ever greater inequality, economic stagnation if not outright decline, falling real wages if not falling period, the government increases 'defence' spending. No one ever accused them of having too much originality. I don't follow religion but I'd bet the government is promoting that too.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

@Rob

Nippon Kaigi, that all the "top" politicians of the LDP are in, promotes state Shintoism, so your observation is correct.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

"We are demonstrating our resolve to defend the Japanese people's lives, property, territory, territorial waters, territorial airspace, sovereignty and national honor," Sanae Takaichi, the party's policy chief, told a press conference.

How about showing some resolve in defending the ever sliding living standards & working conditions, social net standards of Japanese public first? Not popular with the LDP?

Japan should increase it to 5%.It's Japan's Dosh to do as they please. Gaijin can go suck if unhappy about that.

Yes, great advice from someone who doesn,t live or pay taxes in Japan. Thanks for that, lol.

Kishida - the soft-spoken politician is seen as a dovish centrist

Not anymore , he is just a soft puppet easily manipulated by the hawks...took all of about 2 weeks for that to become evident.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Is that him being applauded by the cabinet for doubling the Defense budget? If not, that photo should not be placed next to that headline.

the opposition still weak and fragmented.

Do the press ever pay them any attention? If you pay them no respect, and give them no chance, of course they are going to be weak.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It can’t cost that much to issue swords to officers?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

That's a huge amount of money. So much for the LDP's promises a few months ago of "fiscal responsibility." 

Um, did you miss the annual budget deficits of 40 trillion yen and the accumulated public debt of 1.160 trillion?

That debt is 200+% of gdp, which you consistently claim is no problem at all, and you are now saying 2% of gdp is “huge, and trying to give a pretense of caring about fiscal responsibility?

Japan’s budget was blown a long time ago, this is just more lighter fuel.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

There is a saying, sometimes misquoted, but taken literally, it conveys the right sentiment:

Freedom isn't free.

Unless democracies are willing to spend money and work tirelessly in their self-defense, autocracies will destroy them.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Great news for the multi $trillion dollar US arms industry.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

American defense contractors are extremely happy now.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

YotomayaToday  09:14 am JST

@Rob

Nippon Kaigi, that all the "top" politicians of the LDP are in, promotes state Shintoism, so your observation is correct.

Interesting how this and few other comments have all got 7 downvotes. I'd call that suspiciously consistent, like when a few people in other comment threats criticise the LDP or the government and all get 14 or 15 downvotes.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

@Simon Foston

And saying members of Nippon Kaigi support state Shintoism (with many also involved with Shinto Seiji Renmei), is like saying McDonald's sells hamburgers. It's not criticism, it's just stating the facts.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The country like most others needs to be able to defend itself. Becoming neutral will not work. The leading European countries of NATO have spending at 2% of GDP. America is about 4.5%.

Both Russia and China are spending and updating their militaries.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

With the state of the world around Japan, I would be nervous too. Angry, untrustworthy and militaristic nations all around me I would want a sturdy defense force for my country for sure.

If they can source much of their needs domestically it will boost local manufacturing and research helping the economy in the process.

A peaceful world is everyone's preference but somehow wars always occur periodically to destroy lives and lands. Making other people do what you want and not what they want seems to be a failing of most generations and many countries and religions.

The hope is your defense forces never have to fire a shot but the reality is you must always be prepared. Those who let preparedness wane are quickly over run by those preparing for war when they see the opportunity.

Hitler spent years preparing for war and when he invaded Poland and Belgium and France they fell very quickly because their defense was inadequate and ill prepared.

A Nation close by has told its military to prepare for war and this means Japan MUST be prepared for the worst, while working hard to see that that worst does not come to pass.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It can’t cost that much to issue swords to officers?

Not many good sword makers left. Have you seen how long it takes and the cost for a hand made reliable sword these days?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Well, that was fast. So much for.... er.... what was it? Oh that's right, income redistribution. Straight into the bin labeled empty election promises.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Defend Japan from attack by China and North Korea - which is beyond absurd. As are references to Adolph Hitler, invading Poland. China would flatten the islands and turn them into ash. Such would be suicidal.

As if Japan, at least the reactionary conservatives and war mongers in the LDP, could possibly prevent, let alone defend an attack by China. The notion of North Korea, attacking Japan is so far from reality as to border on psychotic.

Military spending is naught but wasteful, fiscally irresponsible and plain dumb.

Anyway. The U.S. military is stationed in Japan, which makes any pretense to 'defending' from 'militaristic nations' rather quaint. The USA is the most militaristic nation on earth and spends more than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia. The USA spends three times that of China. The USA outspends Japan by a factor of 20. Japan is a military outpost with the most expensive and powerful military on earth defending its shores. The fevered dreams of politicians with absolutely no experience in a warzone or comprehension of the carnage bespeaks to a rather significant break with reality.

North Korea spends less on the military than Japan. North Korea spends almost 25% of GDP on the military. And their military is a ramshackle relic. I is one reason why the country is impoverished and run by a halfwit.

The global average for military spending is approximately 2.6%. China spends about 1/2 that amount. Though the military is large, it is also antiquated in spite of 'modernization' and growth is restrained..

Let alone does the actual concept of WAR seem to register among the many. It is discussed as if a game of Trobriander cricket or counting coup, as a contest with winners and losers. In reality it turns the landscape of the parties involved into an open air abattoir and those who suffer most are civilians, to use the quaint term: collateral damage. The razing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the firebombing of Tokyo - that is the actuality

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

If they have the money to spend on this why can't they do something about falling wages... discriminatory hiring policies and a huge wealth gap between the top 10% & everyone else?! oh I forgot they are the privileged helping out the even more privileged!

Why would they care about the plebs ?!

Loads of money for weapons though!

Smh..

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Kishi and Tanaichi are big trouble hardline nationalists. Tanaichi wants to install intermediate range missiles in Japan, and so on.

If doubling the defense budget is so important why didn't Abe do it years ago? The situation around the Sentakus was much worse then.

Japan is never going to win any arms race with its 200%+ national debt. It could easily bankrupt itself, but it won't bankrupt China.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Another election another clown. All show in Japan. The usual suspects get help and the rest of the country can go and get stuffed

2 ( +6 / -4 )

World leaders have their priorities all wrong. This isn't gonna end well.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How would LDP lawmakers establish consistency for an increase of the defense budget or even the budget itself under the constitution? Article 9 of the constitution says:

(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Gen. Douglas McArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers but rather a demi-god ruler of defeated Japan, made efforts to pull the buds of militarism or anything reminiscent of militarism off occupied Japan. Martial arts, such as judo, kendo and karate, were expunged from the school curriculum. Even shodo or traditional calligraphy was prohibited from teaching at school.

Look how he flipflopped that policy of making Japan demiliterized to the nail when the Cold War intensified, urging the tail-wagging Japanese government to rearm by establishing the so-called Self Defense Forces. Since then, the U.S. government has been urging Tokyo to increase its defense budget and help the U.S. fight global wars.

So, LDP lawmakers' sanctioning of Japan's defense budget to go beyond 2% of the GDP cap is undoubtedly a response to Washington's urging and pressure.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The global average for military spending is approximately 2.6%. China spends about 1/2 that amount. Though the military is large, it is also antiquated in spite of 'modernization' and growth is restrained..

Your comment is good but this is simply not true. Like the real economies of USA and China, China's military is very formidable but USA's, much less than they would like us to believe. The only possible reason China would have to invade Japan is because of the US occupation forces in Japan.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Not want to sound pushy, but (again) where is the money going to come from, what is going to be done with it and what is the overall plan?

The (impoverished) Japanese taxpayer will have to step up!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Defend Japan from attack by China and North Korea - which is beyond absurd. As are references to Adolph Hitler, invading Poland. China would flatten the islands and turn them into ash. Such would be suicidal.

China increases defense spending yearly and threatens war and you think defending Japan is absurd. Just taking a line from the CCP playbook of talk peace but build for war and threaten anyone not falling in line with your wishes.

China would not turn any Island to ash, it wants to rule the people not exterminate them.

As if Japan, at least the reactionary conservatives and war mongers in the LDP, could possibly prevent, let alone defend an attack by China.

That is exactly why they need to build better defenses asap.

The notion of North Korea, attacking Japan is so far from reality as to border on psychotic.

Your talking about a psychotic regime, so yes it is very possible under the current leadership.

Military spending is naught but wasteful, fiscally irresponsible and plain dumb.

And yet, China spends more each year and out manufactures the US for weapons building each year. It helps to have such cheap labor.

The only possible reason China would have to invade Japan is because of the US occupation forces in Japan.

Well that just says Japan is as safe as it can get since there have been no occupation forces in Japan for over 65 years. But China does like to increase its territory and make others follow its will so Japan being so close is in danger again. Thanks goodness the American forces are guest's of Japan and can discourage constant unrelenting Chinese aggression in the region.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When Socialists get upset about Japan, you know Japan is doing something right.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

China would not turn any Island to ash, it wants to rule the people not exterminate them.

Deng told Thatcher, China will see HK burn before it continues to allow the UK occupation.

Taiwan isn't officially occupied by a washed up imperialist power but it's not exactly a bastion of independence and freedom from another washed up imperialist power either.

Unfortunately this washed up imperialist power has a lot of nukes and as we all know, no qualms using them......

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Unfortunately this washed up imperialist power has a lot of nukes and as we all know, no qualms using them......

And that is why Japan and the US must maintain vigilance lest Jinping who has no qualms about indiscriminate killing on a mass scale unleashes WMD with his newly minter war machines.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

*Minted war machines.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

&Richard Gallagher

A+

Thanks for taking the time to completely destroy the case for increased military spending by Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stupid and dumb = Doing Nothing when your aggressive neighbors China, Russia and N. Korea are increasing military budgets.

Increase Nuclear Weapons.

Increase advance missiles.

Have attacked other countries.

Invaded others.

Or making plans to do so.

Chinas military GDP is 5x that of Japan.

Why oh why Japan. So out of the blue. Must be trying to conquer Asia again.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kick drum sounds. All I can make out is… territory, property, territory and something about honor system. Who knew vote buying came so cheap.

"We are demonstrating our resolve to defend the Japanese people's lives, property, territory, territorial waters, territorial airspace, sovereignty and national honor," Sanae Takaichi, the party's policy chief, told a press conference.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like North Korea

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The same people here crying about Japan having the US make weapons will be the same people running for cover asking where is America when we need them to pay. You complain about Japan contracting the US to make weapons but expect its soldiers to spill their blood for you!! Hello Kitty!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The global average for military spending is approximately 2.6%. China spends about 1/2 that amount. Though the military is large, it is also antiquated in spite of 'modernization' and growth is restrained..

Your comment is good but this is simply not true. Like the real economies of USA and China, China's military is very formidable but USA's, much less than they would like us to believe. The only possible reason China would have to invade Japan is because of the US occupation forces in Japan

China today has one of the most modern and technically sophisticated militaries in the world. They are the exact opposite of antiquated. In 1991 the PLA was equipped and organized much like the Iraqi Army. PLAN leadership was shocked with the ease that US and coalition forces steamrolled Iraqi forces. From then on they became deadly serious about matching the US military capability for capability. They are not there but what they have is truly formidable. The PLAN is certainly superior to anything the Russians ever fielded except for raw numbers of submarines. As for the US military, what you see is probably not everything they have. Remember that mysterious helicopter that crashed during the Bin Laden raid? What was that? Or the RQ-180, which the USAF acknowledges exists but nothing more. No images, no specs, nothing else. The word is that RQ-180 is a B-2 like unmanned SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) platform, but who knows? Some certainly do but they aren't blogging about it. Or the NGAD 6th-gen fighter that according to Gen.. Roper is prototyped and tested, even broke some records and supposedly ready for a production decision but again, no images and no specs? NGAD, RQ-180 and the B-21 which we know is in production with a first flight early next year or maybe this December could be game changers. I would bet more than beers the US has a lot of stuff the fanbois are unaware of. The US has not sat still since Desert Storm either.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Chinas military GDP is 5x that of Japan.

Eh, don't exaggerate. It makes your other claims seem similarly unbelievable. China's nominal (raw Dollar value ) GDP is $16.64 trillion vs $5.37 for Japan. China's GDP is therefore 3.09 times greater than Japan's.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Anyway. The U.S. military is stationed in Japan, which makes any pretense to 'defending' from 'militaristic nations' rather quaint. The USA is the most militaristic nation on earth and spends more than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia. The USA spends three times that of China. The USA outspends Japan by a factor of 20. Japan is a military outpost with the most expensive and powerful military on earth defending its shores. The fevered dreams of politicians with absolutely no experience in a warzone or comprehension of the carnage bespeaks to a rather significant break with reality.

If the US public starts to believe the Japanese are uninterested in devoting sufficient resources to the defense of their nation, if it looks like the Japanese expect the US expend blood and treasure, to do all the bleeding and suffering to protect them the support of the US public, and that big military force in Japan could vanish. If the Japanese people are not interested in creating, training and funding a military sufficient to make the Chinese doubt their ability to attack Japan successfully, why should the US public care? If the Japanese think China is just this big cute cuddly Panda with no interest in harming Japan or taking any of their sovereign territory then maybe the US should just bid Japan adieu and let Japan fend for itself. Good luck. But don't come crying to the US if that cute cuddly panda turns out to have claws and fangs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Free Japanese yen to America.

No. The vast majority of JSDF equipment, even the foreign designed equipment and aircraft, are manufactured in Japan by Japanese companies. All the JGSDF armored vehicles, all the JMSDF ships and their major equipment, most combat aircraft including fighters (some of which are Japanese designs), transport aircraft (also mostly Japanese designs) and helicopters are made by subsidiaries of big Japanese corporations. The money is not going to the US.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichiOct. 13  11:26 am JST

The country like most others needs to be able to defend itself. Becoming neutral will not work. The leading European countries of NATO have spending at 2% of GDP.

They should rein in spending on worthless crap that they don't need then, like salaries and perks for Diet members and public pensions for rich retirees.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Peter14(Oct. 13  04:30 pm JST),

Well that just says Japan is as safe as it can get since there have been no occupation forces in Japan for over 65 years. But China does like to increase its territory and make others follow its will so Japan being so close is in danger again. Thanks goodness the American forces are guest's of Japan and can discourage constant unrelenting Chinese aggression in the region.

There are three taken-for-granted premises in your argument in the post above. One: The U.S. forces are not occupation forces. Two: They are here as guests, that is, they came here at Japan's request. Three: The U.S. forces are here to defend Japan, and so they work as deterrent to fend off China's possible aggression.

As for One:  How do you consider the fact that the U.S. military presence in Japan has been continual and seamless since Japan's defeat of World War II in 1945. You may say the occupation ended when Japan recovered its sovereignty in 1951. But that recovery of sovereignty was a makeshift measure, for hitherto occupation forces remained just the same as before with bases and personnel perquisites kept intact. Only the name changed. They now call themselves USFJ.

As for Two:

The Japanese delegation to San Francisco to sign the Peace Treaty was whisked away to a U.S. Army barrack in the city to sign another agreement with the U.S. that would guarantee the continued U.S. military presence in post-occupation Japan. The Japanese delegation was shown an English version of the treaty only hours before they had to sign it.

As for Three:

The bilateral security treaty signed on the sideline of the San Francisco Peace Treaty was revised in 1960 with a provision added to the effect that the U.S. forces must defend Japan. But for the U.S. the main reason for maintaining troops and bases in Japan is to secure itself. Defending Japan is only secondary and incidental. It's comic then that Japan provides so much land and space to USFJ for free use, believing the U.S. forces are stationed here to defend Japan mainly, and at the cost of their life at that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Voiceofokinawa, did you consider Japan's neighbors in your comments above? Until quite recently Japan was widely reviled in Asia. Japan has not atoned for their WWII atrocities in the manner of the Germans, no it has not, and until the recent rise of a militant China, Japan was still considered a military threat to the region if it was ever allowed to re-arm. Keeping US forces in Japan to defend it originally from the USSR and the PRC relieved Japan of the need to re-arm and allowed much of Asia to sleep in peace at night. Japan could shoulder the great bulk of its defense responsibilities on its own but the rest of Asia, until no more than five to eight years ago, would have strongly opposed Japan re-arming. It is not an occupation as you claim. Did it ever occur to you that having US forces defending Japan prevented the rest of Asia from arming up to defend themselves from Japanese aggression? Whether you know it or not until Xi Jinping made China the object of great fear, Asian nations feared a rising Japan and looked to the US to keep a lid on all the many animosities in the region. As long as US forces protected Japan, the Japanese would not repeat the horrors they inflicted on the world and the rest of Asia was relieved of having to arm themselves to the teeth to protect themselves from Japan. Even today my Chinese born wife tells me constantly to never trust Japan, they will stab you in the back. That is the reality of how Japan is viewed in Asia. Only Xi Jinping's belligerence and their claims to Japanese territory have changed minds in Asia. Now unfortunately all those same nations that once rested easy not worried about arming up to defend themselves from a militant Japan have to arm themselves to the teeth to protect themselves from a militant China. That includes Japan who's territory the Chinese covet.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As for One: How do you consider the fact that the U.S. military presence in Japan has been continual and seamless since Japan's defeat of World War II in 1945. You may say the occupation ended when Japan recovered its sovereignty in 1951.

for hitherto occupation forces remained just the same as before with bases and personnel perquisites kept intact.

Australia and Britain were also occupying forces in Japan until the occupation ended. The Americans stayed on by request and out of concern over the China situation which had already become threatening. If the occupation forces were still in Japan you would have British and Aussie garrisons permanently stationed in Japan still.

The Japanese delegation to San Francisco to sign the Peace Treaty was whisked away to a U.S. Army barrack in the city to sign another agreement with the U.S. that would guarantee the continued U.S. military presence in post-occupation Japan. The Japanese delegation was shown an English version of the treaty only hours before they had to sign it.

Personal knowledge because you were there? Or suspicion and innuendo based on third hand accounts?

The bilateral security treaty signed on the sideline of the San Francisco Peace Treaty was revised in 1960 with a provision added to the effect that the U.S. forces must defend Japan. But for the U.S. the main reason for maintaining troops and bases in Japan is to secure itself. Defending Japan is only secondary and incidental.

It makes no difference which is stated first, the signed agreement includes defense of Japan period.

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Desert Tortoise,

If you say the U.S. military presence in Japan is necessary to put a lid on it so that its militarism might not revive and Japan ransack its neighboring countries once again, then you should say so clearly. You should say, along with me, that the bilateral security treaty is a gimmick to camouflage this shameful reality. 

No nice words such as "The U.S. forces are here to defend Japan" or "The US. service members are all prepared to give their life to defend Japan", as a departing USFJ commander wrote in his farewell message in The Japan Times.

 

Peter14,

The Allied Forces were comprised of the militaries of the U.S., Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, China (Kuomintang) and France. Occupation forces until 1951, they all left Japan promptly except the U.S. forces when the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed and Japan recovered its sovereignty. Apparently, the U.S. forces couldn't be stationed in Japan as occupation forces and so the U.S. government cajoled Japan into signing a new treaty to make its forces, hitherto occupation forces, continue to be stationed the same as before. 

That treaty, officially known as the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan, is indeed a gimmick to camouflage the hard reality that Japan is still being occupied singularly by the U.S. forces. Come to Okinawa for the first-hand confirmation of this reality.

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Totally irresponsible and uneducated, waste of tax payers money.

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