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Japan okays jamming hostile satellites

Japan approves a measure to research the capabilities to jam hostile communication satellites.


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Updated: December 13, 2018

The government plans to possess the capability to jam hostile communication satellites in outer space, a new policy stipulated in a draft outline of the next National Defense Program Guidelines set to be approved by the Cabinet as early as Tuesday next week.

The government submitted on Tuesday this week draft outlines of the guidelines as well as of the Medium Term Defense Program (fiscal 2019-23), which are compiled based on the national defense guidelines, to the ruling parties’ working team and gained general approval.

The new national defense guidelines are characterized as reinforcement of counter-capabilities in new domains including space, cyberspace and electromagnetic waves.

The outline calls for advancing the “consolidation of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces in every field” and “reinforcing their defense capacities with a speed drastically different from the past.”

The guidelines’ outline also calls for possession of the ability to jam attackers’ command and control system as well as communications in outer space. Under consideration is introducing a ground-based device that uses electromagnetic waves to jam hostile satellites’ communications, which are essential for attackers’ command and control over their forces.

As China and Russia have enhanced their offensive capabilities in outer space, tremendous damage will be unavoidable to Japan’s national security in the event that its satellites are destroyed. The Japanese government will launch a satellite carrying an optical telescope to strengthen its surveillance capacity in outer space.

In cyberspace, the government will take measures to prepare the SDF to counterattack in a contingency. The draft of the guidelines specifies the possession of the “capability to prevent attackers from using cyberspace.” The outline of the Medium Term Defense Program includes upgrading the relevant structures, such as a cyberdefense unit.

Regarding electronic warfare, the draft guidelines set out a policy to strengthen the capability to neutralize attackers’ radar, communications and other methods.

In addition, the government will convert an MSDF Izumo-class destroyer into a de facto aircraft carrier. New introduction of the so-called short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft, or STOVL aircraft, is stated in the draft of the medium term program — apparently referring to state-of-the-art F-35B stealth fighters. The draft says that the Izumo-class destroyer will be updated after due consideration for STOVL aircraft to become deployable when the situation requires. By playing the role of an aircraft carrier, the destroyer can help improve aerial defense in parts of the Pacific where no SDF base exists as well as defense capabilities on remote islands.

The draft also calls for realizing a structure to coordinate issues across all domains, including new domains. An office of joint operation will be established within the Joint Staff. The number of GSDF personnel will be maintained at 159,000.

In order to beef up the supply capacity of ammunition to remote islands, a joint maritime transportation unit comprised of GSDF and MSDF personnel will be formed. A ballistic missile defense unit will also be established within the GSDF to operate Aegis Ashore, a ground-based missile interception system.



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About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

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