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Thread: Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism

  1. #1
    Sheep dog standing before wolves The Dane's Avatar
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    Default Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism

    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia]SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. — The Japanese soldiers in camouflage face paint and full combat gear were dropped by American helicopters onto this treeless, hilly island, and moved quickly to recapture it from an imaginary invader. To secure their victory, they called on a nearby United States warship to pound the “enemy” with gunfire that exploded in deafening thunderclaps.

    [/FONT][/COLOR][*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]Perhaps the most notable feature of the war games in February, called Iron Fist, was the baldness of their unspoken warning. There is only one country that Japan fears would stage an assault on one of its islands: China.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]Iron Fist is one of the latest signs that Japan’s anxiety about China’s insistent claims over disputed islands as well as North Korea’s escalating nuclear threats are pushing Japanese leaders to shift further away from the nation’s postwar pacifism.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]The new assertiveness has been particularly apparent under the new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, a conservative who has increased military spending for the first time in 11 years. With China’s maritime forces staging regular demonstrations of their determination to control disputed islands in the East China Sea and North Korea’s new leader issuing daily proclamations against the United States and its allies, Mr. Abe’s calls for a bolder, stronger military are getting a warmer welcome in Japan than similar efforts in the past.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]“This is a very serious rethink of Japan’s security,” said Satoshi Morimoto, defense minister in the last administration, who was an architect of changes in Japan’s defense policy.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]Until recently, a simulated battle against Chinese forces would have been unthinkably provocative for Japan, which renounced the right to wage war — or even to possess a military — after its march across Asia in World War II resulted in crushing defeat. The purely defensive forces created in 1954 are still constrained from acting in too offensive a manner: last year, a smaller mock assault by Japanese and American forces on an island near Okinawa was canceled because of local opposition.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]That recalculation — a large step in what analysts see as a creeping over the years toward a more robust Japanese military — could have broad implications for the power balance in the region, angering China and likely giving the United States a more involved partner in its pivot to Asia to offset China’s extended reach.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]At the same time, the Japanese public has more fully embraced the once-discredited Self-Defense Forces. That is in part because of anxiety over China and North Korea, but also because of the military’s prominent humanitarian presence after the 2011 tsunami.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]Although Japanese liberals and critics elsewhere in Asia fear that Mr. Abe is using regional tensions as an excuse to ram through a hawkish agenda, opinion polls show he has broad public support for his overall policies.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]The reality of the changing geopolitics was not lost on the Japanese officers who watched their soldiers scrambling up San Clemente’s grassy hills. They acknowledged they were learning tactics from the United States Marines, who developed them during their island-hopping campaign in the Pacific against Imperial Japan.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]The mock invasion was part of the joint training exercises that are held annually with the Marines. But this one broke new ground. Not only were the soldiers calling in American naval fire and airstrikes themselves, the leaders of their elite unit for the first time helped plan the war game, taking on a role closer to equals than to junior partners. And in a reversal of historical roles, wartime aggressor Japan now finds itself on the defensive against a powerful China that feels its moment has arrived.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]“China is in their face, giving them the first militarized challenge that Japan has seen since the war,” said Richard J. Samuels, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has written about Japanese security. “The mood has shifted toward giving more legitimacy to the guys in uniform.”
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]With small but significant steps, Japan has been moving for several years toward refashioning itself and its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces into something closer to a true partner of the United States military.
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    [*******#000000][FONT=georgia][SIZE=2]In recent years, the two countries have jointly developed a ship-borne missile system capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. Mr. Abe is calling for a broader interpretation of the postwar Constitution, which restricts Japan to acting only in “self-defense,” to include acting in defense of allies. Mr. Abe says this would allow Japanese forces to shoot down a North Korean missile heading toward the United States, something they cannot now legally do.[/SIZE]

    While the military spending increase passed by Mr. Abe and his governing party is small (0.8 percent compared with China’s double-digit gains in recent years), it is intended to bolster the defense of Japan’s southwestern islands, including the disputed ones, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
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    The new military budget also adds weapons that just a decade or two ago would have seemed overly offensive for Japan’s defensive forces, including financing for two F-35 stealth fighter jets. The larger budget will also add another attack submarine to strengthen the Japanese Navy’s ability to hunt the new Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning as well as money to develop a new anti-ship missile.
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    [SIZE=2]“This is a signal that we are still a player,” said Narushige Michi****a, a specialist in security studies at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.
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    [SIZE=2]Mr. Abe has also called for rewriting the postwar Constitution to scrap restrictions on the military altogether, but polls show the idea remains unpopular with the majority of Japanese. Still, in a country that for years would not acknowledge it had armed forces, the changes in budgets and tactics are significant.
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    [SIZE=2]The move toward a more normalized military also benefited from misfortune, the triple disaster in 2011, when an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis crippled northeastern Japan. During the grim first days of the crisis, the Self-Defense Forces were the face of the government amid scenes of devastation, and a lifeline for shocked survivors. Now, after years when they were barely seen in public, the troops are spoken of with a new warmth and have even become fixtures on television programs lauding the heroes of the rescue efforts.
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    [SIZE=2]The military’s own shift to a somewhat more assertive force was on display last month at Camp Pendleton, a Marine base near San Diego and San Clemente Island. This year, 280 Japanese soldiers participated in the war games, 100 more than last year’s Iron Fist, which started eight years ago with just a dozen Japanese soldiers.
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    [SIZE=2]The soldiers were part of the Western Army Infantry Regiment, a centerpiece of Japan’s efforts to build its own military capabilities. With American help, the 1,000-man unit is being fashioned into a Marine-style force capable of making helicopter and amphibious landings to defend Japan’s southwestern islands. This year’s military budget includes $25 million for four American-made amphibious troop carriers used by the Marines.
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    [SIZE=2]When asked the biggest lesson that he learned from the war games, the regiment’s commander, Col. Matsushi Kunii, said he was initially put off by the Marines’ lack of strict scheduling: Japanese military exercises, he said, typically follow a timetable with the same clocklike precision as a Tokyo subway.
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    [SIZE=2]“Then I realized the Americans know from real combat experience that things don’t always go as planned,” said Colonel Kunii, who was watching Japanese soldiers prepare to fire a mortar during the mock assault on the island. “This flexibility, as an organization, is the type of real know-how that we need to learn.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/wo...ref=world&_r=0[/SIZE]
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  2. #2
    Senior Member EdisonTrent's Avatar
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    You dun goofed china, you dun goofed. (Unless your plan is to turn asian countries against each-other)

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    Senior Member Kingswat's Avatar
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    About time they get back to their roots.

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    Senior Member J도so's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingswat View Post
    About time they get back to their roots.
    They are going to invade Korean peninsula again?

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    Member Flying Tiger's Avatar
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    At least, it's better for Japan to build forces that are adapted to the political reality of the situation (China and North Korea spouting crap on Japan as always) instead of following some utopical idealistic BS (Article 9 of the Constitution) that was once branded as "the way to follow" by the godforsaken United Nations.

    Still, I believe the manpower in the JSDF has to be around twice the current number in order to insure enough strength in repelling potential attacks.

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    Member Trael's Avatar
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    I wonder what would be next? Germans building army... wait...

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    Senior Member tommyd's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see Japan asserting itself more. The region is not getting any safer.

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    good for Japan. I'll be honest, my mouth is just watering thinking f the amazing hardware Japanese technology can bring to the world especially military ones.

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    Too hilarious

    And the PRC only has themselves to blame

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    as long as they can counter china's influence, i rooting for japan

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    Senior Member IraGlacialis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingswat View Post
    About time they get back to their roots.
    Yeeah... I'd rather that they become military-capable without doing that.

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    Senior Member Impartial Bias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by comet View Post
    good for Japan. I'll be honest, my mouth is just watering thinking f the amazing hardware Japanese technology can bring to the world especially military ones.
    They're already good at it as it is. Type 10 MBT, Type 01 LMAT, F-2, Soryu class subs already make my mouth water. Imagine if they spent more of their GDP on R&D, procurement, and size, they'd be a East Asian superpower again, especially with those newly located dredge mined rare earth metals.
    IMO, it'd be nice to see them be more friendly with the other East Asian states as well.

  13. #13

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    I don't agree with the heading of this article. Its quite an exaggeration of reality.

    Identifying and adapting to the constant changing external threats does not mean ''shifting away from pacifism''.

    During the cold war , the primary threat Japan was facing were Soviet divisions landing on Hokkaido. Hence the Northern army units are the best equipped . The type-90 is specifically designed to operate in the areas with lots of spaces (i.e Hokkaido), not in areas which are heavily urbanised (i.e Kyuhsu or Honshu). That threat is gone , replaced by a new one. The possibility of the Chinese landing on the Nansei Island chains. Hence the setting up of a very modest Marine force.

    The goal remained the same .Safeguarding a nation's territorial sovereignty.

    Several more points I got problems with:

    1) The F-35s are for replacing the obselete F-4EJ Kais. Those F-4 can carry out anti shipping and ground attack roles. How is the F-35 ''overly offensive'' when requirements such as low RCS are the norm for every nation modernizing her AF ?

    2) If the Japanese does indeed 'shift away from Pacifism'' you would see a much larger marine force being set up , rather than a 1000 man force. This force can only retake small islands at best, rather than invading foreign shores.

    3) The JMSDF are struggling to maintain their destroyer numbers. The F-15J Kai successor won't be ready anytime before 2030. The replacement of Type-73 by Type-10 is carrying out at a very slow pace. No ballistic missiles. No cruise missiles. The only amphibious ships of the JMSDF are the three Osumi LST. Simply put , there is no expansion of the JSDF that supports the statement of ''moving away from Pacifism''. Instead there are concerns that the ageing equipment aren't being replaced quickly enough.

    4) The only noteworthy expansion of the JMSDF is the plan to increase the submarine fleet from 16 to 22 from FY2011 to FY2015. Other than that , the JMSDF force level will remain the same in the foreseeable future. Like a slow trickle of one destroyer annually to replace a retiring boat. This is nothing compared to the significant expansion of the PLAN or the ROKN. Nothing comparable to a type-56 launched monthly , or several dozens of type-54 , type-52 , type-71 LPD or subs launched over the course of just a few years.
    Last edited by Uruzu; 04-03-2013 at 02:53 AM.

  14. #14

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    Going a bit OT.

    Even with this new Marine force, the Nansei Islands are still massively underdefended. (If we discount the 3rd MEF)

    The only JGSDF unit garrisoned there is the 15th Brigade in Naha. With only one infantry regiment (and supporting companies), it can't even secure Okinawa, let alone islands like Amami, yonaguni , Ishigaki.

    There is only one F-15J squadron in Naha (204th Hikoutai), and the nearest escort flotilla (2nd Flotilla) or local district escort squadron (13th squadron) is baed in Saesbo , over 1000+ km from Senkaku group or Yonaguni.

    It would require massive restructuring of the JSDF to safeguard this South Western flank.

    But then. Finally taking a stand = ''shift from pacifism''.

  15. #15
    Member Flying Tiger's Avatar
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    If you say so, that slow process of equipment modernization is quite a major concern combined to bad positioning of the current units for any quick response in the Southwest.

    Still, I also believe the JSDF as a whole should hold around twice the current size in the number of active personnel... or at least have a far greater number of reservists. I only wish more people in Japan can now understand better the need to have stronger armed forces. Germany are currently holding 7th place among the world's top armed forces (according to that article from the other day) even though Germany also has a constitutional article similar to Japan's Article 9, and that means there is nothing wrong with considerably increasing the overall size of the JSDF as long as they continue their main mission.

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