Japan’s ruling party calls for ‘counterattack’ capability and increased defense budget

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Soldiers from the 1st Rapid Deployable Amphibious Brigade, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) perform individual and small unit maneuver drills during Iron Fist at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 6, 2019. Photo of the United States Marine Corps

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presented its national security strategy proposals to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, calling for increasing Japan’s defense budget to 2% or more of GDP, as well as developing “counterattack” capabilities capable of hitting not only missile launch sites, but also command and control capabilities control of the opposing nation, which would serve as both a pre-preventive measure and a deterrent capability for Japan.

The proposals are not unexpected given that Kishida’s government is committed to strengthening Japan’s defenses. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Kyodo News this month, his ministry is reportedly requesting a larger budget and discussing the possibility of acquiring capabilities to preemptively strike enemy bases.

The Kishida government plans to present a new national security strategy by the end of this year, replacing the one formulated in 2013. The Japanese government will also publish a new national security strategy, a new national defense strategy and a new plan. of defense capability, all covering a period of 10 years.

The development of counterattack capabilities is controversial, given the self-defense stance Japan has had since the creation of its pacifist constitution and the LDP’s coalition partner Komeito has shown reluctance to increase the budget for defense and acquire counter-attack capabilities.

The LDP proposal identifies the threat posed to Japan by Russia, China and North Korea, noting that the three countries have strengthened their military capabilities alongside increased military activity in East Asia.

He also noted that the continued development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons by North Korea, Russia’s willingness to use force in Ukraine and China not ruling out the use of force in Taiwan as reasons for Japan to improve their defense. The Chinese Coast Guard continuing to breach Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands and Chinese and Russian planes and ships carrying out joint flights and sailings around Japan were additional concerns.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense issued a statement this week indicating that a Shupang-class research vessel of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) entered Japanese waters west of the island of Kuchinoerabu, at 11 p.m. Tuesday, before leaving Japanese territorial waters south of Yakushima Island at 2:10 a.m. Wednesday. Kuchinoerabu Island lies 130 kilometers (70 nautical miles) south of Kagoshima, Kyushu.

The Ministry of Defense statement said the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Onami (DD-111) and a Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat had been monitoring the PLAN vessel. Japan filed a protest with China through diplomatic channels over the incident.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) issued a statement saying that a PLAN frigate and an amphibious ship were spotted that day traveling north -west in the area about 100 km east-northeast of Miyako Island. in Okinawa Prefecture. The ships then headed northwest in the sea area between Okinawa and Miyako Island to the East China Sea. Photos and pennant numbers in the release identified the ships as the CNS frigate Zhoushan (529) and CNS landing platform dock Yimeng Shan (988).

PLAN ships were monitored by the JMSDF supply ship JS Hanama (AOE-424) and JMSDF P-3C maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5 operating from Naha Air Base, Okinawa.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Kishi said his ministry would soon launch a tender to study a suitable site for a mobile radar station on the island of Kita Daito, adding that Japan would likely move towards permanent radar stations around the Daito Islands as these areas constitute a surveillance gap with respect to military activities and transits to and from the Pacific Ocean. A Chinese aircraft carrier task force conducted an exercise around Kita Daito Island last year, USNI News previously reported.

The LDP proposal also called for the relaxation of Japan’s export and transfer restrictions, not only allowing Japan’s defense industry base to be sustained, but also strengthening the defense capabilities of partner nations to the region.

He also called on Japan to raise awareness and support for the free and open Indo-Pacific concept and, together with the EU, European countries, NATO, AUKUS and others, to further strengthen partnerships. in the region while strengthening current efforts such as the Quad. At the same time, emphasis was also placed on the US-Japan alliance, indicating that the two countries will strengthen their military and security cooperation and interoperability.

Kishi announced Thursday that he will visit the United States from May 3-6 and will hold a meeting with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin on May 4. Agenda items include Ukraine, China and North Korea, Japan-US “2+2” discussion held in January this year and formulation of a new national security strategy implemented in Japan, as well as concrete efforts to strengthen the deterrence and resilience of the Japanese-American alliance. Kishi also said his delegation would visit the Missile Defense Agency and the US Cyber ​​Command to exchange views on ballistic missile defense and cyber cooperation.

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