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Japan new security plan focuses on island dispute

By Mari Yamaguchi

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:20 p.m. HST, Dec 16, 2013


TOKYO » Japan on Tuesday (Monday in Hawaii) approved a plan to increase defense spending by 5 percent over the next five years to purchase its first surveillance drones, more jet fighters and naval destroyers in the face of China's military expansion.

The revised 5-year defense plan was adopted by the Cabinet along with a new national security strategy that reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to raise the profile of Japan's military and have the country play a bigger role in international diplomacy and security.

Experts say the strategy and the defense plans are in line with a power shift that has been continuing for several years. But Japan's neighbors -- and some Japanese citizens -- worry that the new reports push the country away from its pacifist constitution adopted after World War II.

"Many people worry inside Japan and outside that maybe Abe hasn't really learned the lesson from the wartime history of Japan and that there's a danger that a greater role played by Japan actually means the rise of militarism in the long-term," said Koichi Nakano, an international politics professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

The previous 5-year plan beginning 2011 adopted by the now-opposition Democratic Part of Japan slashed the defense budget 750 billion yen, or 3-percent. It also cut forces by 1,000 troops, while the current plan maintains current troop levels.

The strategy also reflects a shift in Japan's defense priorities from its northern reaches to the East China Sea, where Tokyo and Beijing are embroiled in a territorial spat over some uninhabited islands.

The new defense plan calls for setting up an amphibious unit similar to the U.S. Marines as part of the ground defense forces to respond quickly in case of a foreign invasion of those islands. It will also deploy early warning system, submarines and anti-missile defense system to step up intelligence in the area.

Broader defense program guidelines also adopted Tuesday say China's growing maritime and military presence in the East China Sea, its lack of transparency and "high-handed" approach -- including its recent imposition of an air defense zone in the area -- pose potential risks that could trigger problems. Late last month, China said all aircraft entering a vast zone over the East China Seat must identify themselves and follow Chinese instructions, although the U.S., Japan and South Korea have ignored those demands.

The guidelines said Japan is "gravely concerned" about China's such military activity.

Abe said the national security strategy shows Japan's diplomatic and security policy to people in and outside Japan"with clarity and transparency."

During the 2014-2019 period, Japan plans to buy three drones, likely a Global Hawk, as well as 28 F-35A fighters, 17 Osprey aircraft and five destroyers including two with Aegis anti-ballistic-missile systems. The purchases would cost 24.7 trillion yen ($247 billion), up 5 percent from the previous plan.

The defense plan says Japan should "demonstrate its commitment to defense and its high capability," upgrade equipment, increase troop activity and step up defense capability in both quality and quantity to raise deterrence levels amid an increasingly harsh regional security environment.

Narushige Michishita, a national security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, said that the strategy and defense plans set the stage for Japan to come out of its postwar isolationism.

"Isolationism was very convenient and comfortable, but now China is rising rapidly and the U.S. commitment to Asia is not growing, so maybe we should be a little more proactive," said Michishita, who helped develop the previous defense guidelines in 2010.







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mitt_grund wrote:
"The revised 5-year defense plan was adopted by the Cabinet along with a new national security strategy that reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to raise the profile of Japan's military and have the country play a bigger role in international diplomacy and security."

Simply put, Shinzo Abe sees himself as the reincarnation and successor of Japan's WW II prime ministers - Hideki Tojo, Kuniachi Koiso, and Kantaro Suzuki. His aim is to return Japan to its pre-WW II greatness. Note that no meaningful reparations nor any meaningful apology was ever made by Japan for its wars of conquest from 1895 through 1945, for the millions of lives its troops massacred and the destruction wreaked throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines. Probably, this was due to the fact that most of those slaughtered were non-Caucasian, and were not worth the attention of the prevailing Western powers. The West took back all the lands that were swallowed by the Nazis and even subdivided Berlin as its retribution, but gave scat to their Asian WW II allies. They did similarly during the Great War, and in the late 1800's and early 1900's, they looked the other way when Japan seized parts of China and Russia in its initial forays into global conquest. Probably because they were busy grabbing their share of East, South, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Burma, India and Cambodia remained in the hands of the British, French, and Portuguese, as well as their possessions in Africa.

Only with the rebirth of nationalism in those nations did the West begin to cede these countries back to their people. And so we have Japan reborn, unrepentant, and yearning for a return to power. They'll have to rebuild their population first before doing so. Unless they intend to use all that radioactive stuff coming out of their failed nuclear reactors to make weapons of mass destruction.

Japan, despite its buddy-buddy friendship with the West and its meteoric comeback after WW II, is still hated and reviled in the Asian continent as to what they did in the name of the rising sun the first half of the twentieth century. We Americans only have Corregidor, Bataan, and Pearl Harbor to grieve about. Entire nations were put to the sword, machine gun, bombs, and the booted feet of Japanese Imperial troops. Next to those losses, the losses incurred by the U.S. are a drop in the bucket. Japan was not the bumbling, friendly Mr. Moto of American movies to most of Asia and the Western Pacific. They were rabid warmongers who wreaked genocide on the peoples they subdued.


on December 17,2013 | 05:56AM
pcman wrote:
Japan needs to do more of its own intelligence collection, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) rather than depend mainly on the US. They have assets, wherewithal and access to Asian targets that we don't. They can share with the US like we do with them. Japan also needs seaborne anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons to combat sea and air pirates and rogues.
on December 17,2013 | 07:11AM
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