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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 July 20 - 26  > Defense white paper for 1st time in history states Japan’s possession of ‘counterforce capability’
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2022 July 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Defense white paper for 1st time in history states Japan’s possession of ‘counterforce capability’

July 23, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo at a Cabinet meeting on July 22 explained the ministry’s annual white paper, “Defense of Japan 2022”. This year’s white paper has a very distinctive aspect. The report for the first time in history acknowledged Japan’s possession of “counterforce capability”. In addition, the report, in its feature section titled “Deterrence fosters peace”, focuses on reinforcement of Japan’s own military capability and the Japan-U.S. alliance.

In the feature section, as “current security issues”, the white paper states that China “has been rapidly improving its military power both in quality and quantity with focus on nuclear, missile, naval and air forces, which is raising strong concerns.” Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report pointed out that “there are concerns that the effects of such unilateral changes to the status quo by force may extend to the Indo-Pacific region.”

The annual white paper states that under this severe security environment, deterrence is critical for both defending Japan and creating peace, and stresses that Japan is strengthening its own architecture for national defense and the Japan-U.S. alliance.

In order to achieve this, as an urgent task, the report cites Japan’s possession of “counterforce capability” which used to be described as “enemy-strike capability”.

The defense white paper quoted Prime Minister Kishida’s remark in May at a joint press conference after the Japan-U.S. Summit meeting that all options, including so-called “counterforce capability” should be examined. The white paper introduced the Defense Ministry’s move in which the ministry set up the Defense Strengthening Acceleration Council, chaired by the Defense Minister, for the purpose of discussing all options.

The annual white paper states that NATO member countries agreed to increase their military spending to at least 2% of GDP and that eight of them already complies with this agreement. This description coincides with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s claim that Japan should drastically increase its defense budget like NATO members.

If Japan reinforces military-centric deterrence capabilities as stated in the annual report on the nation’s defense policy, it will only lead to a further escalation of the arms race in the region. Deterrence does not foster peace.

Past related article:
> Taking advantage of Ukraine crisis, LDP seeks to double military spending to more than 2% of GDP [May 2, 2022]
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