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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 June 1 - 7  > Japan’s SDF is integral to US military strategy targeting China
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2022 June 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Japan’s SDF is integral to US military strategy targeting China

June 5, 2022
The Japanese government is eager to possess an enemy strike capability which completely overturns Japan’s conventional “exclusively defensive defense” principle as Prime Minister Kishida Fumio expressed after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Tokyo in mid-May that he will consider all options, including the so-called “counterstrike capability”.

The U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) adopted the term “capability to attack enemy bases” or “counterstrike capability” for the first time in its report concerning Japan, known as the “fifth Nye-Armitage Report” released in December 2020. The report praises the fact that Japan decided to allow itself to exercise the right to collective self-defense and assumes that Japan will be equipped with counterstrike and missile defense capabilities.

A counterstrike capability does not necessarily mean to strike back against an attack. In fact, in response to Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira during an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on May 31, Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo said that Japan may exercise the right to collective self-defense to attack enemy bases preemptively. By saying this, DM Kishi implied that Japan’s Self Defense Forces are willing to engage in U.S. wars abroad in a counterstrike even if Japan is not under attack.

In this regard, the U.S. administration has already placed a specific demand on Japan. According to FY2020 budget documents pertaining to the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) with China in mind, the U.S. Indo-Pacific force refers to the building of a “precision attack network” using cruise missiles along “the first line of islands” covering the sea off Kyushu and the South China Sea. This anti-China network is based on the premise that U.S. allied countries with their enhanced ground-based weapons will participate in the precision attack network.

The Defense Ministry already deployed Ground SDF missile units to Amami, Miyako, and Ishigaki islands, and is now considering deploying another unit to the Okinawa mainland. The ministry is promoting development of state-of-the-art long-range missiles, including hypersonic guided missiles and high-speed glide missiles, as well as the type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles with a considerably extended missile range. These new missiles are factored into the U.S. anti-China military strategy as part of counterstrike capabilities.

The very existence of the Japan-U.S. military alliance which lies at the root of tensions leading to hostilities should be called into question.

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