What this means for Asia — RT World News


Tokyo is trying to establish itself as a global military power and may destabilize its entire region in the process

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began 2023 with a visit to the G7 countries, where he visited France, Italy, Great Britain, the United States and Canada. Kishida, who will chair this year’s US-centric group, will hold a summit in Hiroshima in May.

While much of his visit focused on preparing the ground for the summit, Kishida signed dozens of defense deals along the way, showing how the visit ties in with Japan’s latest ambition of the moment: rearmament.

Since the end of World War II, Japan’s military power has been limited by its constitution to be strictly defensive. The country renounced the right to resolve disputes through armed conflict and denied the possibility of having troops abroad or waging war. This limited defense spending, but also made Japan dependent on the United States for its security. However, these restrictions, even on paper, are now obsolete in practice. Tokyo has a well-equipped Japan Self-Defense Force, a de facto standing defense army, and recently pledged to double defense spending by 2027 and gain “second-strike” capabilities with a focus on China. and North Korea fueled a regional arms race.

In 2022, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. At his death, his ideas about Japanese military revisionism persisted. The climate of geopolitical competition due to the growing nuclear missile programs of China and North Korea provided a platform for Japan to effectively end its pacifist era. These changes allowed the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (PLD) to perpetuate itself in power among its core coalitions despite decades of unfavorable economic results, and thus overcome this revisionism despite the opposition of some members of public opinion. Japanese public.

While the United States has always viewed Japan as a pillar of its power projection in Asia, a position it strengthened during the Korean War, it now hopes that it will allow Japan to “get rid of the fly” of its postwar military restrictions. Help contain China. The Biden administration has created a Beijing-oriented coalition strategy, such as Quad and AUKUS. The United States aims to counter China’s rise by giving its allies unprecedented military capabilities and capabilities. Like, for example, allowing Australia to purchase nuclear submarines through AUKUS, or in this case allowing Japan to expand its military reach, such as building new air bases on Okinawa.

Thus, Washington sees Japan as a key asset in an emergency with China over Taiwan, a Japanese territory about 100 kilometers east of the island. Thus, Japan now recognizes the island as an important variable in its defense policy, since if Taiwan falls under the control of the mainland, Japan will be militarily “subjugated” by China, which will then change the balance. Asian powers against the US. A missile facility is being built on a Japanese island near Taiwan. Although Tokyo does not officially recognize Taiwan’s independence and maintains a position of strategic ambivalence on the issue, its very close relationship with the United States and the fact that its constitution was changed in 2014 to allow military action in defense of allies directly increases Japan’s chances. Intervention in the conflict in Taiwan.

Japan commented on the alliance

Interestingly, Japan looks for its military expansionism not only to the United States, but also to other countries. This includes deeper engagement with the UK, Canada and Australia, among others. For example, Japan, together with the UK and Italy, is developing a “next-generation fighter jet” that involves the use of AI. While it is clear that the United States is pushing its allies to work together to contain China, on the other hand, such actions show how Japan is trying to regain its strategic independence in order to establish itself. again as a military force. An independent power that has not acted since the 1940s.

All of this, however, brings a new threat dynamic to Asia. First, in the geographic region of Northeast Asia, both Russia and China see Japan as a potential military adversary and are increasingly aligned with this dynamic. Second, Japanese militarism is exacerbating an already tense situation with North Korea, which is eager to build up its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities in the face of a powerful Tokyo, and finds great justification for doing so. Third, anti-Japanese nationalism will increase in China, which means that the tension between the two will increase. Finally, with a common ally in the US, what will South Korea do in the face of an increasingly powerful Japan? It may feel militarily overpowered or isolated, forcing the country to arm itself more in times of myriad challenges. Thus, Japan’s rearmament would have a massive destabilizing effect on Asia, and Washington would be happy to see this happen in order to maintain its influence in the region.

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