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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 29 - September 4  > 2018 defense report excessively stresses N. Korea's 'threat'
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2018 August 29 - September 4 [POLITICS]

2018 defense report excessively stresses N. Korea's 'threat'

August 29, 2018

Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori reported on the FY2018 white paper on defense in a Cabinet meeting on August 28. The white paper has little regard for the ongoing move toward a peaceful Korean peninsula such as the historic summit meeting between DPRK and the U.S. Not only that, the annual defense report describes North Korea's nuclear and missile development as "an unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat", further exaggerating the "North Korean threat". The obvious intent is to justify Japan's arms expansion.

The Defense Ministry is planning to make the largest-ever budget request of 5.3 trillion yen for fiscal 2019. A centerpiece of its budgetary request will be the introduction of the ground-based missile interceptor system "Aegis Ashore". The central government has explained that Japan needs this system to respond to "North Korea's missile threats", but Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide has actually stated that Japan is no longer under constant missile threats.

However, the report justifies the deployment of Aegis Ashore, claiming that this system "can drastically improve (our) capability to protect our country continuously."

Reportedly, a total of more than 600 billion yen is necessary to introduce the system. The local governments concerned as well as local residents are criticizing or voicing opposition to the installation of Aegis Ashore.

The Defense Ministry has been bound by the "power-for-power" militaristic mindset. Arms races, however, have no limit. The major reason for Japan to build up its inventory of armaments is the U.S. Trump administration's pressure on Japan to buy more U.S.-manufactured weapons. This is why Japan still refers to North Korea as an "imminent threat". If keeping on course to remilitarization, Japan will be left behind in changes in the international situation moving to peaceful resolution of hostilities.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t should give up on deploying Aegis Ashore system to Japan [August 2, 2018]
> Defense Minister faces resistance from governors of candidate prefectures for Aegis Ashore deployment [June 23, 2018]
> JCP Kokuta demands cancellation of plan to deploy land-based Aegis Ashore [June 7, 2018]
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