Japan’s Defence Modernization Accelerates


In our 2013 book on Pacific defense., we argued that Japan would expand its defense perimeter in response to Chinese and Russian evolving defense and foreign policies.

We argued that they would take advantage of U.S. defense modernization programs, notably the Osprey and the F-35 programs, to do so.

We also argued that longer range strike and defense maneuver capabilities would be necessary and would be expressed in the evolution of Japanese defense mobilization.

This is how we conceptualized the projected way ahead in the book:

Japan is in the first island chain and the augmentation of the reach of Chinese defense forces through the first and second island has led Japan and the United States to enhance their force interoperability and as Australia has modernized its forces it is expanding its relationship as well with Japan.

There may be a Quad, but is the working relationship among the United States, Japan and Australia will be at the heart of effective deterrence and warfighting interoperability and interchangeability.

Prime Minister Abe has been the architect of the re-working of Japanese defense. His assignation raised questions about the current government and what it would do with regard to defense modernization.

Those questions have been answered by the recently released Japanese defense policy documents.

The new strategy identifies a number of key foci of enhanced Japanese defense capabilities:

Longer range strike (something Australia is focused upon which may be a focus of cooperation between the two states in terms of defense industry);

Further investments in integrated air and missile defense capabilities:

A long-term commitment to developing and operating longer-range unmanned assets:

Emphasis on integratability in terms of cross-domain operations; enhanced capabilities for decision superiority;

And building strategic depth in terms of sustainability and resilience (again this is a major emphasis in Australia as well.

The Japanese National Defense Strategy can be read below:

Featured Image: The graphic shows how we expressed our sense of the evolution of Japanese defense policy in our 2013 book.