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

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Rohingya issue will not be solved easily

Bangladeshi foreign minister says the road to a solution will be long and paved with difficulty. The much-talked-about Rohingya issue will not be solved easily, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Monday. “I have directed to conduct a study on the Rohingyas which will try to find out the impacts of Rohingyas on our country’s social, economic and security system,” said the minister while talking to the journalists at his office in Dhaka. Urging the international community to step forward for a logical solution to the crisis, he said, “The international community has also responsibilities to solve the crisis. If Rohingya crisis is continued, interest of everybody including India and China will be hampered.” India and Russia are much positive over the Rohingya issue right now, the minister informed. About the resistance from several countries including China over the issue, he s


By Daily Star
January 15, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

What does Vietnam’s new cyber law mean for online dissent?

Will Facebook kowtow to the Vietnamese government to keep its market share. Facebook is in violation of a Vietnamese new cybersecurity law by allowing its users to post content critical of the communist government on its platform, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Wednesday of last week. The news came just days after the law went into effect on Jan. 1. The new legislation requires internet companies to comply with government demands to remove user-posted material it doesn’t like. The law also stipulates that information technology companies—Facebook and Google for instance—may be required to set up local offices and store customer data domestically, a feature which human rights advocates worry might make it easier for the government to track and charge dissidents for their online activities. This new legislation follows a pattern of increasing digital scrutiny by th


By Quinn Libson
January 15, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

No breakthrough in South Korea-Japan military talks

Talks stem from a radar incident involving a Japanese aircraft in December. South Korea and Japan have failed to narrow their differences in a stand-off over whether a Korean warship had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol plane last month, Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Tuesday (Jan 15), citing the country’s defence ministry. General-ranked representatives from the two sides met in Singapore on Monday (Jan 14) but could not resolve the dispute, according to the defence ministry. It was the first face-to-face contact between officials from the two nations over the Dec 20 incident, Yonhap said. Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft, and has released a video clip to back up its claim.


By The Straits Times
January 15, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Huawei to end employment of staff arrested in Poland for spying

Huawei has been accused by countries of spying for Chinese government. Huawei announced on Saturday evening that it would terminate employment of Wang Weijing, who was detained in Poland on suspicion of spying, CCTV reported. Wang’s alleged actions have no relation to the company, according to Huawei. “In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labor contract, we have made this decision because the incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute,” said Huawei. “Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” said Huawei.


By China Daily
January 14, 2019