Japan's sixth defence programme, another step towards militarization

By Om Ryong

Japan adopted a "defence programme" for the sixth time last year.

The first one it launched in 1976 focused on building essential capabilities to defend the country.

The second one was adopted in 1995 with an eye to "promoting international peacekeeping activities for national defence".

Through the adoption of the third programme in 2004, Japan opened the door to overseas dispatch of the Self-Defence Forces, and the fourth and fifth ones in 2010 and 2013 set it as targets to develop various military capabilities of the SDF including the mobile and deployment abilities and the ability to attack enemy bases, and to centralize the command system.

As seen above, Japan's so-called "defence programmes" served to build up its armed forces systematically under the signboard of "defence and peace".

Then what does the sixth programme suggest to the international community?

The core of it is the development of "versatile and integrated defence capabilities".

More specifically, the programme is designed to diversify and upgrade means of cyber and space warfare as well as conventional warfare means.

Five years back, Japan had already organized a cyber defence corps staffed by about 90 personnel, and in 2017 the insular country drastically increased the number of its personnel to 1 000 while empowering it to mount offensives, not confined to defence. As is known, it not only plays a big part in the US’ space warfare system but also possesses considerable space assets and keeps increasing them.

Japan’s ground, maritime and air forces are negligible neither.

The latest programme specifies that the helicopter transport ship Izumo with a displacement of 19 500 tons, which was commissioned in March 2015, shall be remodelled to carry latest F-35B stealth fighters. Its buildup of the maritime force is geared to increasing its operational command and overseas dispatch capabilities in the Pacific.

In addition, it develops and introduces long-range cruise and new-type missiles and reinforces attack submarines, and it has become an established theory that it will possess the capacity of "attacking enemy bases", which aroused heated controversy over constitution violation at home and abroad.

Japan has broken the limit on military spending by taking a practical measure for developing the "versatile and integrated defence capabilities"—it boosted the military spending of "1 percent of GDP", symbol of much-hyped exclusive defence, to 1.3 percent.

The 0.3 percent rise seems to be insignificant, but the seriousness of the issue is that the country has paved the way for continuing to increase military expenditure through this increment.

The Abe Cabinet tried to reflect the revision of the "three non-nuclear principles" in the programme on the pretext of the DPRK’s nuclear issue, but it failed owing to objection by the Diet and opposition parties.

The current "defence programme" is no doubt a revelation of Japan’s wild ambition to become a military power in the near future, and its militarization will pose a serious challenge to peace and security in the region and the rest of the world.

(Pyongyang Times - May 26, 2019)