See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Japan eyes stronger self defense force

Abe’s government expands the scope and technical abilities of its self defense force in the face of a resurgent China and more assertive Russia.


Written by

Updated: December 19, 2018

Shinzo Abe’s government will expand the scope and technical abilities of its self defense force after the adoption of a new defense program aimed at meeting new challenges from longtime regional rivals.

While the Japanese constitution limits her armed forces to self defense and humanitarian missions, on Tuesday, the government adopted a revised National Defense Program Guideline and a new Mid-Term Defense Program stipulating the introduction of top-of-the-line F-35B stealth fighter jets, and the conversion of the Izumo-class destroyers to be used as aircraft carriers.

Once converted the Izumo class ships will be Japan’s first carriers since the end of the Second World War.

Meeting Regional Challenges 

According to the defense documents, the measures taken by the government are due to an increasingly assertive Russia and China.

“The United States remains the world’s most powerful nation, but national rivalries are surfacing and we recognise the importance of the strategic competition with both China and Russia as they challenge the regional order,” said the new defense program outline.

China has in recent years taken steps to modernize and expand its navy.

China currently has one carrier in operations, a refurbished Soviet era ship renamed the Liaoning. Beijing has since launched a new native-built aircraft carrier with more in the pipeline. The country has also built additional bases in the heavily contested South China Sea and has the world’s largest maritime militia. (A full assessment of China’s maritime forces can be found here)

The United States’ draw-down on the Korean Peninsula with a rapprochement between Seoul and Pyongyang has Japan apprehensive about its position with North Korea (which sees Japan as a historical foe).

With Japan’s home island within range of nuclear tipped missiles from North Korea, Abe’s government has asked for a cautious approach when dealing with Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Trump’s scaled-back rhetoric on defense means that Russia has grown more bold on its Eastern border. Russian planes regularly patrol the East China Sea and Moscow has built new bases on islands that it captured from Japan at the end of the second world war.

New equipment

In response to the changing diplomatic landscape, the Japanese government approved on Tuesday, a policy of introducing 105 top-of-the-line F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace about 100 F-15 main fighter jets that are now in service but deemed difficult to modify. The scale of the related budget is estimated to be in excess of ¥1 trillion.

When combined with the 42 F-35A fighter jets that are being introduced, the number of F-35 fighter jets will rise to 147.

Of the aircraft to be additionally introduced, there will be 63 F-35A jets, which use regular runways, and 42 F-35B jets, which are capable of short-field takeoffs and vertical landings, and can be mounted aboard the Izumo-class carriers. Eighteen F-35B jets are scheduled to be introduced under the latest mid-term program.

The programs also stipulate boosting of self-defense capabilities in such new domains as outer space and cyberspace.

 



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam unveils measures to ease housing crunch

Lam was forced to deliver speech via video after protests. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures aimed at easing a housing shortage on Wednesday (Oct 16) as she battles to restore confidence in her administration and address widespread discontent after four months of mostly violent anti-government protests. Mrs Lam was forced to deliver her speech via video after her annual policy address in the Legislative Council was aborted when some lawmakers repeatedly jeered and shouted at her as she began speaking. After aborting her speech in the chamber tw


By The Straits Times
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore’s 4G leadership lays out plans to take relationship with China ‘to a higher level’

The two countries share a close relationship. Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership has a comprehensive plan for engaging with China economically and plugging into the East Asian giant’s rapid development. Ten members of the “4G” cohort drove home this point as they spoke with Singapore media at the end of a bilateral meeting in Chongqing on Tuesday (Oct 15) that was of particular significance, as the Singapore team was composed fully of this new generation of political leaders. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat led the Singapore delegation as he co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest-level bilateral platform between Singapore and China. Mr Heng, who took over the reins from former DPM Teo Chee Hean earlier this year, said his first meeting in the new role was forward-looking and productive, and that he took the opportunity to “


By The Straits Times
October 16, 2019