politics

Defense adviser sees chance to update alliance with U.S.

30 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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obviously from the American military conservative viewpoint, maintaining the current status quo of the US-Japan Alliance is good.

But they would definitely object to seeing Japan take a more active and important role in terms of replacing most of the US troops deployed in Japan with SDF and restricting military access to their bases. I believe that's what Ishiba intends as well as Abe. "Why spend $2 billion dollars hosting such a large foreign military and dealing with their troubles and crimes against the locals when we can just spend that amount in expanding our ground sdf?" is an obvious thought they have.

the current alliance pact helps America maintain their dominance over the pacific whereas the Japanese government need not worry about providing extra money for their military as well as relying on the Americans to do the fighting for them.

the only problem i see is what if America get's involved in another allied nations war and brings Japan's SDF with them, or America gets into a large scale war with either Russia or China. Both scenarios only drags Japan into a war they dont want or need, but thats what you get when you maintain a strong alliance.

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Japan cannot build a full fledged military and defend the country by themselves unless the pacifist constitution is changed which appears impossible. Only chance it realizes may be Trump decide to withdraw U.S. Forces from Japan. I welcome it. However, I don't think America will withdraw their military from Japan since Japan is a stronghold for them in this hemisphear.

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As far as changing the constitution goes, let's say they rewrite it so that the Japanese military can function without restrictions and they end up in a conflict ,would they be fully capable?

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This article is factually incorrect. Japan pays a total of more than $4 billion per year, not $2 billion.

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Maybe time for Japan to "call Trump's bluff" and offer to pay nothing at all. The US is not maintaining a purely mercenary force for the benefit of Japan anyway. It has interests involved in staying. Would US forces still stay if Japan didn't come up with the dosh? My bet is they would, at least in some capacity. But if the US went, or threatened to leave, the constitution would be changed in an instant as Japan sees it strategic situation more clearly. But the US and Japan would still have similar strategic interests vis-a-vis China, for example, so the US might even be better off if Japan took over some of its role and to do this it needs to pare down its role in Japan. Ultimately the rightists, like Ishiba, and the US, including Trump, probably have the same aims in mind and refusal to pay more could be a useful pretext for both their interests. The right in Japan could say, "hey, we won't pay any more", and Trump could say, "Hey, they won't pay any more."

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Japan pays a total of more than $4 billion per year, not $2 billion.

no, Japan pays a total of more than $7 billion per year.

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Hi Tina, please help me with a link for that information. Thank you.

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Japan need US as cant go alone against China hegemony.Us cant afford to lose base. This is humilliating for US strategy. And China and Russia will laugh if Us base were removed because Japan cant afford. I think Japan public are as blur as brexit and Trump presidency. Russia never let go their small base at syria and continue at all costs to protect their ally, syria, iran and hebzollah. Imagine Us move out and what it tell to those admire US and as ally.

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qwertyjapan, you can find it in Japanese articles. Enter "7 千億円以上 在日米軍”. Here is one from J govt.

http://www.mod.go.jp/j/approach/zaibeigun/us_keihi/keihi.html

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Defense adviser sees chance to update alliance with U.S.

More like an appeal to his revisionist Nippon Kaigi chums in his attempts to succeed Abe.

Citizens demonstrating against the controversial state secrets bill are committing “an act terrorism,” according to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/12/01/national/secrecy-law-protests-act-of-terrorism-ldp-secretary-general/#.WDT4fHdh3Vo

Military geek Ishiba has also said:

I don't think Japan needs to possess nuclear weapons, but it's important to maintain our commercial reactors because it would allow us to produce a nuclear warhead in a short amount of time ... It's a tacit nuclear deterrent

http://www.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203658804576638392537430156

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What that says is that since Japan is paying for facilities improvements and realignment of bases in both Japan and overseas (movement of US Marines to Guam), that Japan is actually paying more than the US is paying for bases in Japan.

Wow.

You sure don't see those numbers in the mainstream press.

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qwertyjapan NOV. 23, 2016 - 11:18AM JST that Japan is actually paying more than the US is paying for bases in Japan.

Japan has been spending around 1 percent of the countries GDP for many decades. Compare that with many of the NATO countries like Germany and England that are spending 1.5 to 2 percent of their GDP. Japan should be much closer to these countries figures.

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You sure don't see those numbers in the mainstream press.

Today's Nikkei Shinbun says "Japan pays 7.6 billion dollars for 2016 for US bases." "Japan even pay what US should be paying such as utilities, welfare, etc"

www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASFS11H10_R11C16A1EAF000/

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tinawatanabeNOV. 23, 2016 - 12:01PM JST "Japan even pay what US should be paying such as utilities, welfare, etc"

U.S. spends 3.3 percent of their GDP in defense. Japan at meager 1 percent? Let Japan defend themselves.

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Let Japan defend themselves.

I agree but It is USA that preventing Japan from defending herself.

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U.S. spends 3.3 percent of their GDP in defense

And the resident-erect wants to expand the military.

Heaven help us all.

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2 BILLION A YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats the cost of 25 Nuclear ICBMs

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The percentage of GDP that Japan spends is irrelevant.

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sfjp330,

U.S. spends 3.3 percent of their GDP in defense. Japan at meager 1 percent?

Because the U.S. spends 3.3 percent of its GDP for defense, it cannot ask other countries to follow suit, for example, asking Japan to increase its defense budget.

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@tina: yen is not dollar. If you learn how to convert yen to dollar and dollar to yen, write your comment.

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Japan paying for bases on Japanese soil that protect Japan, and complaining about it. Imagine that!

Why aren't they paying for foreign troops and equipment, as well? They appear to have the cash available. Why aren't they embarrassed? Just because Europe isn't? That's a pretty low bar.

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voiceofokinawa NOV. 23, 2016 - 06:34PM JST it cannot ask other countries to follow suit, for example, asking Japan to increase its defense budget.

For Japan, overall spending matters because it measures both capability and political will. The amount of national income spent on defense is a political choice. It is a reflection of the priorities of government and voters and the states willingness to back up their diplomacy with force.

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sfjp330,

I said the U.S. cannot ask other countries to increase their defense budgets following its own example but you seem say, Yes, it can.

The U.S. maintains a huge military presence in Japan as if it were still occupied like it was during the Occupation period: 1945-1951 in the case of mainland Japan and 1945-1972 in the case of Okinawa. Okinawa's case shows military occupation is still going on literally, not simply figuratively. Under such circumstances it's nonsensical and farcical for the occupation side to suggest Japan increase its defense budget more.

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voiceofokinawa NOV. 24, 2016 - 07:27AM JST Okinawa's case shows military occupation is still going on literally, not simply figuratively.

I would say occupy implies that the military dictates the government. In this case, occupy does not apply - other than occupy a base. In Germany there are mixed feelings about this, but it's not a major issue, and everybody recognises that it has pluses and minuses.

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sfjp330,

You say occupation means the military dictates the government of the country it occupies. But hasn't the U.S. dictated Japan what to do about defense, economy, foreign policy and all?

The Nov. 21 Japan Times article of the same story, "Powerful Japanese lawmaker urges re-evaluation of U.S. relationship with Trump taking office," quotes Ishiba as saying; “Japan must stop being a nation that changes its policy per foreign pressure, whether it’s about the economy, security or finance,” he said.

Ishiba's remark is indicative that Japan has always followed policy lines dictated by the U.S. in everything concerned with economy, security and even finance.

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voiceofokinawaNOV. 24, 2016 - 10:02AM JSTIshiba's remark is indicative that Japan has always followed policy lines dictated by the U.S. in everything concerned with economy, security and even finance.

His remark is about political negotiation leverage toward China and Russia with U.S. backing Japan. Without it, Japan would have much more difficulty. If Article 9 is scrapped, and American troops leave Japan, everything becomes Japan's problem. The defense budget will increase by 10 percent a year for many decades. Can Japan afford it to update the cost? If China sends 100,000 troops to Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and Russia sends 100,000 troops to Hokikido, what can Japan do?

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sfjp330,

His remark is about political negotiation leverage toward China and Russia with U.S. backing Japan.

Are you sure Ishiba's remark is about Japan's independent policy making toward China and Russia, which the U.S. has always backed? Hasn't the U.S. always intervened when Japan tried to independently pursue a friendship policy towards these countries in the past?

Edwin O. Reischauer, U.S. ambassador to Japan under Kennedy and Johnson administrations, for example, intimidated then Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira by saying that, if Japan went out of the U.S. sphere of influence and embraced friendship policy toward the Soviets and China, the U.S. would invade Japan again and occupy it.

Thus, Japan's incipient omnidirectional foreign diplomacy dissipated almost immediately. Look at the Hatoyama administration's fate, too, that tried to pursue the same foreign policy line. It collapsed miserably under a blatant U.S. pressure.

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voiceofokinawaNOV. 24, 2016 - 12:05PM JSTAre you sure Ishiba's remark is about Japan's independent policy making toward China and Russia, which the U.S. has always backed?

What other countries besides China and Russia? I don't know of any other countries. Only you know.

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Its sad that with years of establishing a pro-peaceful society With respect and honor will now try to change the people to be able to have to use deadly force. Japan has been safe and secure and with the nation being pacifist and non-violent society. Now they show up with guns and ready to join the military industrial complex. Shame on You ABE and Shiguru. Your pacifist ways was a tool for the world to end aggressive and violent societies. You are the lighthouse do not turn your light off. You join the neanderthals and go back to a militaristic society will bring trouble home from enemies you have not made yet. Peace, Love and Tranquility Think before its too late

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(Sequel to my post above)

Particularly, on matters related with the Japan-U.S. security alliance, it's apparent that Japan faithfully follows what the U.S. dictates to it. So when Washington says it wants Futenma to be relocated to Henoko, it says, "Yes," without paying any regard to a strong local opposition. When Washington asks Tokyo to buy 25 Ospreys for the SDF, it agrees automatically.

When Washington wants to attach a condition, 9 years later, to an originally unconditional agreement to the effect that 6 "helipads" (colossal landing and take-off facilities for V/STOL aircraft) be built in the Northern Training Area near Takae village in northern Okinawa, Tokyo agrees to it almost in a knee-jerk fashion.

This servitude nature of the Japanese government is confirmed by the Oct. 6 Japan Today article, "Clinton 'accepts' Abe's dealings with Russia: ex-U.S. official", in which Kurt Campbell, who served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from 2009 to 2013, is quoted as saying that, on matters related with the Japan-U.S. security alliance, the U.S. side has made most of the decisions with Japan quite content with that practice.

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