Japan approves major defence overhaul, warning of China threats

TOKYO: Japan approved a defense policy overhaul on Friday, including a significant spending increase, as it warned China poses “the biggest strategic challenge ever” to China. with the security of this country.
In its biggest defense reshuffle in decades, Japan announced it would increase security spending to 2% of GDP by 2027, reshape its military command and buy new missiles that can hit locations. The enemy’s launch point is far away.
Prime minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference that he was “resolutely determined to carry out his mission of defending and defending his country and its people, at a turning point in history”.
“In our neighboring countries and regions, the strengthening of nuclear missile capabilities, rapid military build-up and unilateral efforts to change the status quo by force have become even more apparent. “, he said, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example of an invasion of Ukraine. time change.
Polls show that the Japanese public is largely supportive of the change, but the changes can still be controversial because Japan’s post-war constitution does not formally recognize the military and limit it. team in nominal self-defense.
The moves are outlined in three defense and security documents approved by the cabinet on Friday.
They described Beijing as “the greatest ever strategic challenge to Japan’s assurance of peace and stability” and a “serious concern” for Japan and the community. international copper.
In response, the government plans to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by fiscal 2027, bringing Japan into compliance with NATO membership guidelines.
That marks a significant increase from historic spending levels of about one percent and has sparked criticism over how it will be funded.
The money will fund projects including the acquisition of what Japan calls a “counterattack capability” – the ability to strike missile launch sites that threaten the country.
The documents warn that Japan’s current missile interceptors are no longer sufficient, and Kishida said counter-attack capabilities “will be essential in the future”.
While Japanese governments have long suggested that counterattacks to neutralize enemy attacks would be constitutionally permissible, there is little desire to guarantee that possibility.
That has changed with the continued growth of China’s military power and a record series of missile launches by North Korea in recent months, including on Japanese territory.
However, given the sensitivity of the issue, the documents rule out pre-emptive strikes and confirm Japan’s commitment to “an exclusive defense-oriented policy”.
“Japan’s adherence to the three principles of non-nuclearization, autocratic defense policy, and Japan’s progress as a peaceful nation will not change,” Kishida said on Friday.
The counterattack capability would involve both upgrading Japan’s existing weapons as well as purchasing US-made Tomahawk missiles, said to be up to 500.
Other changes include the establishment of a permanent joint command for Japan’s armed forces as well as the strengthening of the coast guard.
Kishida said the core military force on the southwestern islands would be doubled and logistics beefed up “to enable ‘rapid deployment of troops from across Japan’ in the event of an emergency.
Among the documents is the National Security Strategy, which was updated for the first time since its launch in 2013.
Its language on relations with both China and Russia has been considerably tougher.
The previous strategy document said Japan was seeking a “win-win strategic partnership” with Beijing, a phrase that has disappeared from this iteration.
Instead, it suggests a “constructive and stable relationship” and better communication.
And while the document once called for increased ties and cooperation with Russia, it now warns that Moscow’s military posture in Asia and cooperation with China is a “strong security concern”.
China’s foreign ministry urged Japan on Friday to “reflect on its policy”.
“Japan disregards the facts, deviates from the common understandings between China and Japan and their commitment to bilateral relations, and discredits China,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. China said. Vuong Van Bin told reporters.
However, US President Joe Biden said Washington welcomes “Japan’s contributions to peace and prosperity”.
“America stands with Japan at this critical time. Our alliance is the foundation of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he wrote on Twitter.
The strategy contained in the documents represents a major development in Japan’s military posture, according to Chris Hughesprofessor of international politics and Japanese studies at University of Warwick.
“The Japanese government will describe these changes as necessary, moderate and fully consistent with the previous defensive posture,” he told AFP.
However, “they will, in a parlance commonly used by the (ruling) Liberal Democrats themselves in policy documents, ‘radically enhance’ Japan’s military power,” says Hughes, author book “Japan as a global military power” says. .


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