Japan to strengthen its defense against the background of the war in Ukraine and China’s aggression

The war in Ukraine and growing Chinese aggression in the region have raised bets on Japan as a close neighbor of Taiwan. Taiwanese rescuers are taking part in an exercise simulating a rocket attack by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Chiai, Taiwan, on Thursday.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Japan is seeking to strengthen its military capabilities and increase its defense spending under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

After spending 75 years with his hands tied behind a pacifist constitution, the resurgence of Japan’s self-defense forces as a major deterrent has been sparked by the war in Ukraine and growing Chinese aggression against Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims its own .

“I am determined to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities over the next five years and to provide the significant increase in Japan’s defense budget needed to implement it.” Kishida said during the dialogue in Shangri-La in Singapore last week.

“Japan will not rule out any options, including so-called ‘strike capabilities’, and will realistically consider what is needed to protect the lives and livelihoods of our people,” the prime minister said at a security summit where defense ministers senior military officials from the United States, China, Southeast Asia and Europe gathered.

Japan’s proximity to Taiwan

The threat from China is approaching home due to Taiwan’s proximity to Japan, a key aide to Kishida told CNBC on the sidelines of a security summit in Shangri-La last week.

Taiwan is only about 67 miles from the Japanese island of Yonaguni Jima, which is about the distance between London and Dover, said Koichiro Matsumoto, deputy cabinet secretary in the Japanese prime minister’s office.

“Because we are so close to Taiwan, the security of the Taiwan Strait is also our concern,” Matsumoto said, adding that there is a growing military disparity between China and Taiwan.

“We have to keep in mind that the overall military balance between China and Taiwan is tilting … in favor of China’s mainland China, and the gap seems to be growing year by year,” he said, referring to the People’s Republic of China by his acronym.

China’s foreign ministry did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Japan’s defense modernization is an example of how China’s behavior is changing the region in ways that are not necessarily in Beijing’s interest.

Christopher B. Johnstone

Senior Adviser and President of Japan, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington

Reaffirming Kishida’s promise that Japan will strengthen its defense capabilities over the next five years, Matsumoto declined to say whether defense spending would amount to 2% of Japan’s GDP, as local media reported.

Japan is already a member of the Quartet, which includes Australia, India and the United States, a strategic group seen by some to counter China’s growing influence.

Post-war Japan enjoys a high level of trust throughout the region and provides significant assistance, said Christopher Johnstone, senior adviser and chairman of Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Japan’s defense modernization is an example of how China’s behavior is changing the region in ways that are not necessarily in Beijing’s interest,” Johnstone told CNBC in an email.

Japan’s position on abandoning the war

According to Article 9 of the post-war constitution of Japan, the country vowed to “give up the war forever” after being defeated in World War II. As such, its defense force has no right to wage war except to defend the country.

Japanese pacifism was forged by the deep mark of the world’s first and only nuclear bombing, when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

It was formalized by a constitution written by the victors of World War II. But the war in Ukraine and growing Chinese confidence have caused serious concern in Japan.

The Japanese people were too gradually moving away from pacifism after the war in Ukraine, according to opinion polls and observers.

The nuclear threat to North Korea

North Korea reportedly fired long-range ballistic missiles over Japan and is suspected to be is preparing to test its seventh nuclear device.

“Japan is facing a huge increase in the regional military threat over the past few years and in the coming years from both China and North Korea,” said Bruce Bennett, an assistant defense researcher at the California-based RAND Corporation.

The Japanese government would be “irresponsible” if it did not seek to counter growing regional military threats from both sides, he added.

The pariah has conducted 31 missile tests so far this year and six nuclear tests since 2006. Wilson Research Institute Centerreferring to US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield.

His last nuclear test was in 2017.

War in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked the specter of World War II in Asia, according to Sheila A. Smith, a senior Asia-Pacific research fellow at the New York-based Foreign Affairs Council.

“The growing activity of [People’s Liberation Army] “Taiwan’s defense testing was already alarming, but Ukraine’s plight shocked the Japanese people,” Smith said, referring to the Chinese military.

Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.

Fumio Kishida

Prime Minister, Japan

Japan has disputes with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The islands, which have been administered by Japan for more than a century, were first claimed by China in the 1970s as the Diaoyu Islands. Tensions over competing claims have escalated since 2012.

“Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow,” the Japanese prime minister said during the Shangri-La dialogue.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.