What it means for Asia — RT World News

Japan is working to establish itself as a global military power and could destabilize the entire region in the process.

Via Timur Fomenkopolitical analyst

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida started 2023 with a tour of the G7 countries, having visited France, Italy, the UK, the US and Canada. Serving as President of the US-centric group this year, Kishida will host the summit in Hiroshima in May.

While much of his travels have focused on preparing the ground for the summit, Kishida has signed numerous defense deals along the way, showing how the visit is linked to the summit. Japan’s last hope now: Rearmament.

Since the end of World War II, Japan’s military power has been limited by its constitution to a strictly defensive nature. It waives the right to resolve disputes through armed conflict and excludes the possibility of having troops or engaging in wars abroad. This placed limits on defense spending, but also made Japan dependent on the United States for security. However, these restrictions are now virtually nonexistent, even if they still exist on paper. Tokyo has a well-equipped Japan Self-Defense Force, an effective standing defense force, and recently pledged to double defense spending by 2027 and achieve a “second strike” capability. ” keep an eye on both China and North Korea, fueling a regional arms race.

In 2022, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. While he died, his ideas of Japanese military revisionism remained. The competitive geopolitical environment associated with the rise of China and North Korea’s nuclear missile program served as a platform for Japan to effectively end its era of peace. These changes have allowed the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), despite decades of unfavorable economic results, to remain in power among its key coalitions. and was therefore forced to adopt this revisionism, despite the objections of some members of the Japanese public.

While the United States has always viewed Japan as a bulwark in its power projection in Asia, a position the United States strengthened during the Korean War, the United States is now allowing Japan.” free from the shackles” of its postwar military limitations, in the hope that it would help contain China. The Biden administration has established a strategy of creating alliances aimed at Beijing, such as the Quad and AUKUS. The United States aims to counter China’s rise by giving allies expanded military capabilities and capabilities that they previously did not have. For example, by allowing Australia to obtain nuclear submarines through AUKUS or, in this case, by providing an opportunity for Japan to expand its military reach, such as building a new air base in Okinawa.

In doing so, Washington increasingly understands Japan as an important asset in a contingencies involving Taiwan with China, with Japanese territory about 100 kilometers east of the island itself. As a result, Japan now recognizes the island as an important variable in its defense policy, because if Taiwan were to fall to the mainland, Japan would be militarily ‘checked’ by China. , which would then shift the balance of power in Asia against the US. A rocket unit is now is being built on a Japanese island near Taiwan. Although Tokyo does not officially recognize Taiwan’s independence and maintains a strategic ambiguity on the issue, its very close relationship with the United States and the fact that its constitution has been Amended in 2014 to allow military action to protect allies both increase the likelihood of direct Japanese intervention in the Taiwan conflict.

What is remarkable is how Japan not only turned to the United States for its military expansionism, but also in other countries. This includes deeper relationships with the UK, Canada and Australia, among others. For example, Japan will build a “next generation fighter” with the UK and Italy will involve the use of AI. While it is clear that the United States is pushing its allies to work together to try to contain China, on the other hand, such moves also show how Japan is trying to reassert its independence. its strategy to re-establish its military position. in its own right, which it has not attempted to do since the 1940s.

All of this, however, brings a dangerous new dynamic to Asia. First of all, in the geographies of Northeast Asia, Russia and China both see Japan as a potential military adversary and are likely to be more aligned on this dynamic. Second, Japan’s militarism is escalating an already tense situation with North Korea, which is facing a stronger Tokyo, pushed to increase its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, seek greater justification for doing so. Third, anti-Japanese nationalism in China will increase, which means that tensions between the two sides will increase. And finally, despite having a common ally in the United States, what will Korea do in the face of an increasingly powerful Japan? It may feel militarily dominated or isolated, which will also force it to further arm itself amid numerous challenges. As a result, Japan’s rearmament would have a major destabilizing effect on Asia and that is something Washington is happy to see happen to maintain its influence over the region.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author only and do not necessarily represent RT.


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