Japan will remove constitutional limits on defense spending by doubling the national defense budget.
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Japan has long “taken a pacifist stance internationally, but has gradually eased the restrictions in the US-written constitution” imposed after World War II, he said The times. These borders “denied him the right to maintain a military and allowed him to defend himself only in the event of a direct attack.”
But now, in a “historic step” that “is welcomed by Washington”, Tokyo plans to increase military spending to the NATO target of 2% of GDP “as fears of threats from China and Russia mount”.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “can be described as the greatest crisis facing the international community right now” and that “we must drastically strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities” in response.
Mietek Boduszynski, a former US diplomat in Tokyo, told The Times that “the US will welcome this as the culmination of something they have been asking Japan for a very long time.”
Tokyo now appears poised to emerge “as part of the club of nations seeking to uphold a rules-based liberal world order” and “as the US’s most important ally in Asia,” said Boduszynski, associate professor of politics at Pomona College in California.
Japan signaled a shift in its neutrality last July when former Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso announced plans for his country to do so join the US in defending Taiwan against the “existential threat” of a Chinese invasion.
At a political fundraiser in Tokyo, Aso said that “if a major problem” arises in Taiwan, “we need to seriously consider” that the neighboring Japanese island of Okinawa could be “next” on Beijing’s target list.
China reacted angrily after the former prime minister warned that “Japan and the US must work together to defend Taiwan”.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing that the intervention was “extremely wrong and dangerous” and that Japan failed to learn lessons from its “countless crimes of aggression against China.”
“Today’s China is not the China of the past,” Zhao said. “We will not allow any country to interfere in Taiwan affairs in any way. No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will and powerful ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty.”
The Independent said that given these threats, an attack on Taiwan “may pose a risk to Japan’s survival.” And “such a situation” would satisfy the “conditions Japan must meet in order to exercise its right of collective self-defense or to come to the aid of an ally who is under attack.”
For most of Taiwan’s history as a self-governing nation, leaders have been in Beijing has argued: “There is only one Chinawho run them, and that Taiwan is a rebellious part of it,” he said The economist. US presidents have “nodded to the idea of one China” while “spending 70 years making sure there are two” by propping up Taiwan, the newspaper added.
After Japan promised to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, The times’ Asia Editor Richard Lloyd Parry said that while the announcement marked “a dramatic ongoing shift” in security policy, “the idea of Japanese troops springing into action, bombing Chinese ships or fighting on the beaches of Taiwan is a distant fantasy “.
Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) could “theoretically” fight alongside US forces after the constitution was amended in 2015 to allow Japanese troops to support allies overseas, he said.
But “even if there were to be war over the island, Japanese public opinion and the capabilities of its military are far from capable of a full combat role” and the SDF “would almost certainly be limited” to the US to support with “refuelling, logistics and the treatment and evacuation of the injured”.
forbes Defense reporter David Ax said that “the geography of the western Pacific region largely dictates the role Japan would play in an allied defense of Taiwan.”
“It’s pretty clear that the US needs Japanese support to have any chance of thwarting a Chinese invasion attempt,” Ax added. “Japan’s clear willingness to send its troops to fight for Taiwan” could make Beijing’s aggression “unacceptably risky”.
This risk could become even greater if Japan now invests more money in expanding and modernizing its armed forces.
Tokyo “doesn’t like to boast about its naval capabilities because it only needs to maintain self-defense forces,” The Times said, “but step by step it has done so built a navy worthy of a growing military power“. And similar investments are to follow as part of the budget increase plan.
“This is warmly welcomed by the Biden administration, both publicly and privately,” said Isaac Stone Fish, author of America Second: How America’s Elites Are Making China Strongerhe told the newspaper.
“Japan has long justified its military spending because of North Korea, but it has also always been a nod to China because China certainly poses a greater military threat to Japan than North Korea,” he added.
“Beijing is trying contain the consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war but must understand that the war is a good excuse for countries in the region that have contentious ties with China, especially Japan, to increase their own military spending.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/asia-pacific/953415/what-japan-defend-taiwan-means-balance-power-asia How Japan’s military overhaul could change Asia’s balance of power