Tokyo: The Japanese ruling party has approved the proposal to develop a base with Integrated Air and Missile Defence capabilities to counter possible threats from China as well as North Korea. In a few days, the proposal will be sent to Japanese President Shinzo Abe and then reviewed for decision by the National Security Council. The proposal presents the plan for the Japanese armed forces to deploy long-range missiles. If approved, the decision may turn into a significant and decisive shift in Japan’s defence policy.
In the last few months, China has ramped up activities in the South China Sea as also the Indo-Pacific. The objective behind China’s aggression is its ambition for dominance over the South and the East China Sea. Moreover, China is consistently putting up an intense show of strength in the Indo-Pacific. Chinese destroyers, submarines and patrol ships are trying to challenge Japan’s sovereignty. In May, China had deployed its aircraft carrier Liaoning and its strike group in the East China Sea. Before that, some of the Chinese fighter jets had even tried intruding into Japanese airspace. And in June, an advanced Chinese submarine was found moving dangerously near the Japanese territorial waters of Oshima Island.
Along with China, North Korea has also stepped up threatening activities. A report in June had stated that North Korea was expanding its nuclear arsenal. In the story, the EU-based think tank ‘SIPRI’ had mentioned that North Korea had developed ten new nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the country is also claimed to have constructed secret naval bases. The claim suggests the bases were located at the eastern coastline of North Korea and had arrangements for deploying warships and submarines.
As the threats to Japan’s security have risen, the US has taken the initiative to increase the country’s preparedness. An agreement has also recently been signed for the upgradation of the F-15J from the Japanese air force. Prior to that, the US had approved the sale of 100 advanced F-35 fighter jets to Japan. Also, the US and Japan are in talks for the deployment of modern missiles and radar systems. Along with the significant support it is receiving from the US, Japan has even begun making aggressive moves. Besides, Japan has amended its defence policy and significantly increased its defence spending. The country has indicated developing aircraft carriers along with the new fighter jets, hypersonic missile systems and destroyers. The Integrated Air and Missile Defence capabilities also appear part of the strategy.
The current defence policy of Japan does not permit launching attacks on the bases of adversaries, and neither has the country made a demand for any defence system with such capabilities from the US. However, given the changing nature of the threats China and North Korea pose, Japan appears to have begun preparations for making a decisive change in the defence policy. Analysts believe a severe reaction may emerge from China as well as Russia in the event that Japan approves the missile defence system, which is equipped with long-range missiles.