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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 25 - October 1  > 2019 defense white paper stresses need to enhance cross-domain operation capabilities
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2019 September 25 - October 1 [POLITICS]

2019 defense white paper stresses need to enhance cross-domain operation capabilities

September 28, 2019
The Defense Ministry on September 27 published its annual report, Defense of Japan 2019, which underscores the need for a further military buildup. This year’s white paper states that Japan needs to acquire cross-domain operation capabilities, involving the new domains of space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum in addition to ground, sea, and air domains.

Particular emphasis on China

The 2019 defense report lists measures that the ministry thinks are necessary to implement to improve capabilities in cross-domain operations. In order to put these measures into practice, the defense budget continues to grow, marking record highs for several years in a row.

The white paper points out, “Aiming to improve overall military capability and acquire asymmetric military capability that effectively overpowers opponents with superior overall military capability, states are seeking to gain superiority in technologies that undergird capabilities in new domains.” In this context, the report takes particular notice of China.

As ways to deal with China, the defense white paper states that the ministry will establish the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) system, strengthen the Cyber Defense Group, and increase capabilities to neutralize the radar and communications systems of opponents. The ministry intends to accelerate R&D of standoff electronic warfare aircraft which can carry out jamming activities from outside the threat envelope as well as R&D of Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) bombs which generate strong electromagnetic waves that paralyze urban infrastructures. These moves would lead to Japan’s acquisition of the capability to attack enemy bases in violation of the Constitution.

‘Dream aircraft’

The annual defense report stresses the need to enhance defense capabilities also in the traditional domains of ground, sea, and air.

The report mentions the procurement of stand-off missiles which can be launched from outside of opponents’ threat envelope, the purchase of the state-of-the-art F-35A stealth fighters, and the introduction of F-35Bs with Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) capabilities. It gives a detailed explanation regarding the need to upgrade the “Izumo”-class destroyers into aircraft carriers, saying that fighters capable of STOVL on destroyers would “further contribute to improving the flexibility of fighter operations”.

This year’s white paper emphasizes the importance of improving the capabilities of the amphibious rapid deployment brigade, the SDF version of U.S. Marine Corps Rapid Deployment Force. It also calls for the introduction of V-22 Osprey to the SDF in order to increase mobility and deployment capabilities. The report includes an essay written by an SDF officer taking part in the training of Osprey pilots in the U.S. mainland. The officer praises the tilt-rotor aircraft by saying, “This is a dream aircraft that can change not only future aircraft operations but also the operation modalities of the entire SDF.”
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