Ministry of Defense published late July Annual White Paper which stresses consolidation of the policy toward China in the military context and reinforcement of the Japan-US Alliance. The paper justifies eagerness of the military complex sector whose desire is to make the East Asian region a field of weapons' build-up and armed confrontation.
UNPRODUCTIVE, DANGEROUS MILITARY SHIFT TO COUNTER CHINA
Minister Morimoto Satoshi emphasizes in the Foreword to build up Dynamic Defense Force of the Self Defense Forces of Japans (SDF), stating military developments made by North Korea, China and Russia, and insists enhancing Japan-US joint exercises and surveillance activities and common use of facilities, referring to vitalization of trilateral operative schemes of Japan-US-South Korea and Japan-US-Australia.
Main Pillar - Shift to Military Context to Counter China
The Defense of Japan 2012 outlines military policies of USA, countries of East Asia, Russia, Australia, nations in the South Asia and Europe. As for the US military policy, the paper says 'the US global presence will be enhanced in Asia-Pacific Region and Middle East', presenting the outlook of the realignment plan.
As for China, the paper stresses 'lack of transparency' of the decision-making process and defense spending. The paper details locations of major units and capabilities of weapons and analyzes behaviors in the oceans. It says that China is to prevent enemies in the water as far off the coast line as possible, acquire interests of petroleum and natural gas exploration in the East China Sea and South China Sea and protect sea lanes for its navigation.
Let's look at Japan and the US. They have the same strategy. The former has maintained the sea lane defense policy, while the latter has clung to the forward deployment strategy and sought freedom of navigation. In short, China follows what the two countries had done in earlier years and now arranges relevant conditions.
Dynamic Defense Forces focuses on Southwestern Region
The government as well as Ministry of Defense has launched a campaign to build up dynamic defense capabilities and to focus on the southwestern region of the country, elaborating, in particular, maneuvers to defend islands. That means Japan's military strategy to counter and hinder maritime activities of China.
Reductions have been made lately in personnel of the ground forces, tanks and artillery along the said policy, while capabilities have increased of destroyers, submarines and troops for air defense and control as well as of missile defense system. The government hurries up, specifically, to construct new bases in the Ryukyu Islands, located in the southwest of the country, and deploy troops there.
The Pacific realignment of US forces traverses from Hawaii to Guam, extending to Australia, with Okinawa and South Korea positioned in the far-west of the ocean. That is to cope with the Chinese naval force which has entered the range of secondary archipelagic line. Japan's SDF is assigned on duty in the southwestern island region, including Okinawa.
Government's First Priority - Cooperation with US
The government and its bureaucrats give exclusive priority to the bilateral alliance with the United States. Japanese officials hold on constructing a new base in Henoko, near Camp Schwab, Nago City, on which the US Congress as well as pro-Japanese group regards impossible to do it. They are willing to deploy dangerous aircraft Ospreys in Okinawa and enforce their training missions throughout the nation. The Noda government fails to review the status of forces agreement.
The decision to frustrate the Three Principles on Arms Export is converted to the efforts to develop and produce weapons in the multilateral framework. It rightly responds to the US demand and the pressure of Japan's military industry. Partnership of Japan with the US-led NATO consolidates cooperation, constituting part of the entire strategy.
Thus Japan's coercing military behavior invokes mistrust and wariness among the neighbors, which may please the military-industry-bureaucrat circle but jeopardize peace and stability in East Asia.
September 4, 2012