Japan to boost its capabilities to counterstrike at enemy bases (in China and North Korea)
Tokyo plans to buy new long-range missiles, doubling military spending over the next five years. Critics warn this violates the country’s "pacifist" constitution. For the government, it is a “bare minimum self-defence measure”. China reacts angrily. Putin's Russia is also in the crosshairs.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Japan plans to equip itself with the means to strike at any enemy bases in case of emergency thanks to a significant boost in military spending, this according to three defence papers approved today by the Kishida government, including a revision of Japan’s National Security Strategy (NSS).
For the Japanese government, the aim of the new defence posture is to contain China and North Korea who have destabilised the region’s balance of power with their threats.
Critics note that Japan’s post-war constitution only allows it to act in self-defence, but for its backers, the new NSS simply gives Japan the “bare minimum self-defence measure."
Compared to the 2013 NSS, the Kishida administration says Japan faces the "most severe and complicated security environment” since the end of World War II.
According to the NSS, the existing missile defence is not enough vis-à-vis the enhanced missile forces of countries like China and North Korea.
Kishida's plan is to double military spending to 2 per cent of GDP over five years, or 43 trillion yen (US$ 315 billion), with some five trillion used to buy standoff missiles that can be launched beyond the range of enemy fire, plus US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles.
According to the NSS, three conditions must be met for a counterattack: Japan or a friendly country are under attack threatening Japan’s survival, no other appropriate means exist to repel an attack, and the use of force is kept to a minimum.
The new NSS names China as “the greatest strategic challenge" ever, which is the same official position of the United States. In the 2013 NSS, China’s military assertiveness was seen as “an issue of concern for the international community.”
Japan and China have a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu for the Chinese) in the East China Sea, which many analysts see as a possible theatre of armed confrontation between the two countries.
China’s response was not long in coming. The Foreign Ministry said today that Japan "ignores facts” and “deviates from its commitment” to bilateral “relations and common understandings," saying the country "groundlessly discredits" its neighbour.
Japan’s new military doctrine also revises the country's stance vis-à-vis North Korea and Russia.
North Korea is described as a "graver, more imminent threat than before” while Russia is "a serious security concern" for its strategic collaboration with China and its invasion of Ukraine.