Foreign Policy Blogs

Japan to Revise its Maritime Defense Posture


Sunday’s Wall Street Journal reports on Japan’s predicated intention to revise its maritime defense posture to address threats in the oceans South and West of the nation:

The shift will be the central theme of Tokyo’s new National Defense Program Guidelines, which will set the defense-policy framework for the next decade and replace ones adopted in December 2004. Lawmakers and government officials familiar with defense policy said the guidelines were expected to be approved this week.

The plan involves revamping Japan’s maritime forces given China’s growing assertiveness in the East China Sea and North Pacific. Accordingly, the Government of Japan intends to increase the size of its submarine fleet to 22 boats up from 16, and to establish a permanent military base near the island of Okinawa.

With tensions between Japan and China spiking after the recent collision of Japanese patrol vessels and an alleged Chinese fishing trawler, the Japanese public continues to rally the DPJ-led government to redress outstanding security issues.

The new defense plan comes as Japan’s largely pacifist population shifts its sentiment on regional security amid rising tension on the Korean peninsula and as China’s military might swells along with its economic muscle.

The Japanese Government cites developments in China and on the Korean Peninsula as its primary motivation for the projected force transformation.

“First and foremost, we must put priority on strengthening our defense capability in the south and the west, looking toward China,” said Jun Azumi, vice defense minister, in a recent interview. “Since the last defense-program guidelines came out, our national-security environment has changed dramatically, including the situations in North Korea and China.

Read the full article here: