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Why Japan is boosting its arms capability, defense budget


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Japan cannot defy the military might of China.

It won't be Japan alone against China. The US, Australia, Canada and probably UK would be on Japan's side. Together they can certainly stop China but as China's military might grows so must that of the allies. It is much less costly than the wars that result from being viewed as weak and irresolute.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A people who are willing to defend themselves might still be conquered.

A people who do not try to defend themselves will definitely be conquered.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan cannot defy the military might of China.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

By extension and in the same vein, we may question the reason why Futenma's replacement must be built in Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa. The to-be-replaced new facility will be nothing but a white elephant, irrelevant to deterrence, defense and security of Japan.

And the same answer I gave earlier. The Marines always fight with their own organic air power. They have done so almost since the invention of the airplane. It is integral to how they fight, and thus integral to how they If the Marines have an airfield where they are fighting, they can provide their own air support and have the train. That airfield also guarantees their ability to be resupplied.

But if you have no Marines on Okinawa, in an emergency they will have to come all the way to Okinawa from Guam and Hawaii. By then the Chinese will already control Okinawa and any airfields and ports therewith. Now the Marines and JGSDF will have to fight their way in to take Okinawa back. The Second Battle of Okinawa, with all the destruction and death that brings. Having Marines on Okinawa with their own airfield and air support makes Okinawa, and the other smaller islands to the south, much harder for China to attack. In fact having those Marines and their airpower on Okinawa is a strong positive deterrent to China trying to grab any of those islands. China won't try anything with US forces present, but without them Okinawa and those smaller islands in the chain look like Bambi, tender, inviting and no fight. Easy pickings. Is that what you prefer? Do you really think China respects weakness? Be clear with your reply.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whataboutism on display, when on-topic arguments about this story aren't possible. Yawn. Sorta sad for all the Putin/Xi supporters. In 2010, Japan wasn't thinking about more military spending to counter Russian aggression elsewhere or Chinese anything. The world was looking for more "peace dividends" and mostly finding them.

The big issues where still Chinese theft of intellectual property and forcing all foreign companies to spoon feed their technologies into Chinese companies when they weren't able to steal it (look up what Huawei did to Nortel).

China is going to be forever chasing everyone else in technologies. Their propaganda about Chinese recent great creations is nearly all false and photoshopped using the single legal copy of Photoshop that China owns. https://www.reuters.com/article/net-us-microsoft-china-piracy/microsoft-complains-to-china-over-piracy-at-state-firms-report-idUSBRE88K0CO20120921 It's bad when the Chinese govt blatantly steals, but we've come to expect it after multiple decades of the practice.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Far more credible that news out of China, Russia or any other autocracy.

You probably still believe Russia won't invade Ukraine, right?

Your level of reasoning and understanding is simple and predictable.

You probably went along with the western media on the invasion of Iraq, and would have also obviously done so with Vietnam when the alleged Gulf of Tonkin incident was reported.. .both of which led to the unnecessary deaths and suffering of a whole lot of people, so that the elites who manipulate people through the media could cash in.

Well, keep being their follower, not for me.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Can't we learn from the lessons of today? Ukraine has missiles and defense systems, but the real danger is winter. Are you ready for freezing while the politicians shoot missiles? Is the electricity grid similar to the one that's been destroyed in Ukraine? If so, guess what that means. We'll all be out in the cold.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Larr FlintToday  09:48 am JST

Japan is dreaming to go back to the imperial times with strong army and vast territories.

Nope. But China certainly is doing just that, right now.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

moonbloomToday  03:58 pm JST

Try to pay attention if you read the news at all.

Because we all know the western press is the gospel lo

Far more credible that news out of China, Russia or any other autocracy.

You probably still believe Russia won't invade Ukraine, right?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Try to pay attention if you read the news at all.

Because we all know the western press is the gospel lol

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Sequel to my post above of Dec. 18 11:32 am JST:

By extension and in the same vein, we may question the reason why Futenma's replacement must be built in Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa. The to-be-replaced new facility will be nothing but a white elephant, irrelevant to deterrence, defense and security of Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Raw Beer yes that's right !

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

I worry that the US is trying to get Japan to fight against China, just like it got Ukraine to fight against Russia. And we all know how well that is turning out...

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

ZorotoToday  09:03 am JST

The geopolitical world surrounding Japan has radically changed

No, it has not. Not in Asia.

Yes it has. China and Russia conducting joint exercises off Japan. Russian exercises in the Kuriles. Chinese intrusion into the Senkakus. China's continued threat to invade Taiwan. North Korea now about to do another nuclear test. That's why QUAD was formed. That's why South Korea is improving it's relations with Japan. Try to pay attention if you read the news at all.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

No need to be so long

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Awa no GaijinToday 07:00 am JST

Japan says the use of counterstrike capability is constitutional

But it's not counterstrike !

It's preemptive strike !

Therefore unconstitutional.

The capabilities are identical, the question comes back to strike first or strike second in reply to an attack. I do not think anyone can predict when a nation will "pull the trigger" so any preemptive strike is a guess at best. The one counter to that is if communications have been cracked and an order for a strike against Japan has been authorized for such and such a date and time. In this day and age an almost impossible thing to obtain with encryption being as sophisticated as it is.

In regards to strike second in reply to an attack, such capabilities are entirely constitutional.

As I have mentioned before the pacifist constitution was drawn up with 1940's technology in mind. That many nations now have a ballistic missile and ICBM capability to attack nations thousands of miles away with missiles launched from the enemies own territory, it makes weapons limiting much more dangerous for Japan and is giving a massive advantage to any potential enemy. Japan can have an ability to respond to such attacks in an identical way and still remain within current constitutional constraints.

Japan can currently sail ships or fly planes close enough to anyone in the region and launch a barrage of missiles in a first strike. It has not done so and will not do so in the foreseeable future. Obtaining long range missiles, ballistic and ICBM will allow both counter strike and first strike, as the current arsenal already does, but with less danger to Japanese personnel, and greater deterrence to any potential enemy.

Japan has no wish to begin a conflict. It has worked hard to show that over the decades following its defeat in WWII. But the arms buildup by those surrounding it, are driving a new imperative to increase it's defensive ability. The history of our species is a violent one of conquest after conquest through millennia. A new age of conquest has begun with Russia's invasion of Ukraine for territorial gain. It is destructive and brutal costing the lives of all who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Japan is not the only one worried about the current situation and a nation continually building its armed forces like China is, while saying it is peaceful and for self defense, while admitting it will force Taiwan to become part of CCP ruled territory whether they like it or not, shows the true intent of the arms race. To dominate others against their will and to expand territory as Russia is trying to do.

What Japan does is a matter for Japan and if its people want a larger, stronger military to deter others in the region, it is for them to decide and for them to worry about their own constitution, not outsiders trying to yell this is against Japans constitution.

I am all for Japan being better able to fight back against aggression aimed at it when ever it happens. They are never going to begin a conflict against a nuclear armed adversary, but they need the ability to hit back effectively with conventional weapons if attacked by one.

Nuclear weapons would only likely be used first if that nation is being invaded and is losing badly, because letting that Jeanie out of the bottle is the end of our way of life for everyone, involved or not.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan's SDF and Japan-deployed USFJ are often likened to shields and pikes. In other words, should a contingency occur, the SDF forces supposedly devote themselves to defensive duties only whereas U.S. forces fight proactively to fend off the enemy.   

The new NSS flipflops that longstanding stance of Japan 180 %. It fundamentally questions the meaning of the U.S. military presence in Japan -- the raisons d'etre of USFJ.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The LDP cannot be trusted.

I trust the LDP 1000x more than the CCP, who are known to lie about, well, everything.

We lost the war (in 2014) [s]last century[/s] and 3.5% of our land is occupied. We just have to follow our masters commands, like an overworked salaryman/person.

This article isn't about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

For those who do not believe my previous post, please check this link:


Japan has the fourth strongest military according to this source. It is not the largest, but it is well equipped, extremely well equipped. Where Japan rates low is personnel. Does Kishida want to increase the number of people in the military? Do Japanese want to join or send their sons to the military?

 Budget: $41.6 billion

Active frontline personnel: 247,173

Tanks: 678

Total aircraft: 1,613

Submarines: 16

In absolute terms, the Japanese military is relatively small. Nonetheless, the country is extremely well equipped.

According to Credit Suisse, it has the fourth largest submarine fleet in the list. Japan also has four aircraft carriers, although these vessels are only equipped with helicopter fleets.

Japan also has the fourth largest attack helicopter fleet behind China, Russia, and the US.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is not good to provoke China too much. Losing the world's largest auto market would put Japan in a difficult situation. It is better to emphasize that the increase in military spending is to counter Russia and North Korea.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

its US and UK interests.

the correct sociological term is Anglo-Saxons.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Because the Americans want Japan to bail them out of their recession by buying the overpriced substandard American junk ..

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Japan is not alone.

Germany is doing the same because of Russia. Using your logic, Germany must be trying to conquer Europe again.

Japan's enemies always want Japan to be weak no matter what China, Russia or N.Korea is doing. The advice you have for Japan, doesn't seem to apply for your own countries. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Why Japan is boosting its arms capability, defense budget

1) China

2) North Korea

3) Russia.

I think that is enough.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Japanese far-right including politicians continue to ruin postwar democracy, beautify and justify prewar or wartime totalitarianism Japan including war crime, and have hated Korean and Chinese so much.

What such discriminators had wanted to have toys that can intimidate neighbouring countries militaristically, they succeeded one of their goals this time.

And, realizing expansion of armament even if victimize standard of living of Japanese is also demand from Unification Church group who have very deep relationship with LDP for several decades, LDP government obeyed to it faithfully.   

Japan's mainstream media such as nationwide newspapers or TV channels didn't mention about risk of hasty arms race policy of LDP government.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Why don't we hear the real reason?

The real reason is to funnel money to the defence industry which will funnel money to the LDP. Another reason is to get headlines instead of dire state of the economy getting them every day.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@Awa no Gaijin

Japan says the use of counterstrike capability is constitutional 

But it's not counterstrike !

It's preemptive strike !

Therefore unconstitutional.”

The Article 9, which is part of the constitution imposed on Japan during the US occupation and which prohibits a sovereign country from ever having its own armed forces, is null and void.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This article is just regurgitated government talking points, with no counter balancing view from anti-war groups, no questioning if these ‘fears’ are indeed reasonable, and no attempt to analyze if the increase in spending will actually do anything to allay said concerns. It is a textbook example of manufacturing consent.  

As for why Japan is boosting its arms capability and defense budget, economist Michael Hudson called it months ago when he observed that the war in Ukraine would send energy prices spiraling, and that US control of the IMF would allow the Americans to offer Japan Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to stabilize the Yen in exchange for increased military spending and ultimately a rewriting of the constitution. I suspect, beyond the usual grift to enrich weapons manufactures, the Pentagon and LDP are arming Japan so she can fight against China in defense of Taiwan, down to the last Japanese, just like with proxy war in the Ukraine against Russia.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

",,,3.5% of our land is occupied. We just have to follow our masters commands..."

That narrative is plain wrong. Polls over the years have shown that the majority of Japanese support the defense arrangement with the US (despite what the Japanese media and certain vociferous advocates say) and today they want a stronger military of their own.

Yes for defense only ! ! !

The recent poll asked about expanded defense capability. That would clearly include the counter-strikes, etc. Most Japanese said yes, give us more. Only 10% said no.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

""Japan says the use of counterstrike capability is constitutional if it's in response to signs of an imminent enemy attack, but experts say it is extremely difficult to conduct such an attack without risking blame for striking first""

Who cares what about being blamed, the main objective here is to DEFEND the homeland first and not sit and wait for an attack.

Let the chips fall where they may afterwards.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan has every right to spend 2% of her GDP on defense. Japan also has the right to have a normalised military (not a Self Defense Force), and the right to strike at enemies effectively on foreign soil.

Compared to the sheer aggression being shown by enemies Russia, China and NK, this is a small but necessary move for democratic, free Japan.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

This is all about Kishida's trip to D.C. in January. He's trying so desperately hard to show he's a strong leader that he wants to deliver a nice gift to Joe, so Joe can pat him on the back and say, thanks Fumi, you did good.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

this must surely be a bumper (global) era for the arms-makers and their shareholders.....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

i am against that tax hike and warmongering in name of US interests.

its US and UK interests.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

We lost the war last century and 3.5% of our land is occupied. We just have to follow our masters commands, like an overworked salaryman/person.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

The geopolitical world surrounding Japan has radically changed, to survive they have to adapt to current threats not just keep doing what has become comfortable. If you expect allies to stand by you in a dangerous world they have to be able to trust you to reciprocate and stand with them. Japan can no longer go on freeloading.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

because of whitehouse request.

i am against that tax hike and warmongering in name of US interests.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

One question.

Do they have to fit new tires (and do there repairs) every time they fire of a missile?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A majority of Japanese people want a stronger military. So regardless of Kishida's imbroglios and supposed fiscal restraints, Japan is going to get a bigger military anyway.

It's like the immigration issue in reverse. The social and political arenas can debate the issue forever, but immigration is not going to happen because Japanese people simply don't want it.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

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