How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency. Continue reading

Japan fighter jets scrambled to fend off China

JAPAN scrambled fighter jets to head off a Chinese government plane flying towards disputed islands in the East China Sea, Tokyo’s defence ministry said.

It is the first such incident to be announced by the ministry since China created its new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in November last year, which has stoked tensions in the region. Continue reading

Is Japan’s Military Secret About to Come Out? Tokyo and Washington Update Military Cooperation Pact

The Military cooperation pact between Japan and the United States is undergoing big changes. As a result, for the first time since World War II, Japan could soon officially be allowed to have first-strike capabilities against potential threats.

Last Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry met with their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to discuss the regional security pact between the two sides. It is significant that while all previous meetings about the defense pact were called by the U.S., this one was called by Japan. Continue reading

Japan will shoot down PLA drones if necessary: defense ministry

The Japanese defense ministry said on Sept. 17 that Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles found flying over the disputed Diaoyutai (Diaoyu or Senkaku) islands in the East China Sea will be shot down by the country’s Self-Defense Forces, reports the Tokyo-based Nippon Hoso Kyokai. Continue reading

Zones of Future Conflicts

BEIJING/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German government advisors are warning against an arms race and possible military confrontations in East Asia. As a recent study by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) explains, China’s attempts to take control over its coastal waters and its maritime trade routes collide with the USA’s attempts to uphold Washington’s claims to maintain its “international leadership role.” The arms buildup of the Chinese Navy and the initial shift of US armed forces to the Pacific are colliding head-on and could – in the worst case – result in armed conflict. In effect, as a NATO partner of the United States, Germany would also be implicated in cases of conflict. German naval vessels are already being incorporated with growing frequency into the US Navy’s combat units. Berlin is also contributing to the expansion of NATO military cooperation with the pro-western countries of east and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific regions through military policy measures and arms exports. German naval circles are also demanding that the German Navy soon be given an arms upgrade and an offensive posture. Continue reading

U.S. fretting over Japan’s desire to militarily strike enemy bases

The United States has expressed concern about Japan’s desire to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases in an overhaul of its defense policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a government source said in Tokyo.

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Japan unveils largest warship since World War II

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.

The ship, which has a flight deck that is nearly 250 meters (820 feet) long, is designed to carry up to 14 helicopters. Japanese officials say it will be used in national defense – particularly in anti-submarine warfare and border-area surveillance missions – and to bolster the nation’s ability to transport personnel and supplies in response to large-scale natural disasters, like the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Though the ship – dubbed “Izumo” – has been in the works since 2009, its unveiling comes as Japan and China are locked in a dispute over several small islands located between southern Japan and Taiwan. For months, ships from both countries have been conducting patrols around the isles, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China. Continue reading

Japan Ready to Declare: We’ll Go First

TOKYO – Japan has no intention to go it alone in defending its territory or national interests from growing threats in the Asia-Pacific region. But an annual defense review released Tuesday and other recent developments signal an increasing willingness on the part of Japan to go it alone, first.

Japan plans to establish a new National Security Council that would streamline how and when Tokyo would use military force, appoint a senior officer to command troops from all three armed services, and formally designate a Marine Corps-like force to defend its vulnerable southwest islands. Continue reading

War games near California: Are the US and Japan sending a message to China?

A series of unprecedented joint drills, code-named Dawn Blitz, began earlier this month between the United States and Japan off the coast of California with a specific aim: a joint amphibious assault on the island after it has been seized by a small, but heavily armed, invading force.

San Clemente Island, located about 75 miles northwest of San Diego, is acting as a surrogate for the disputed island chain known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Japanese officials insist publicly that the drills are not targeting a third country, adding that the island’s identity is purely hypothetical. Continue reading

Japan holds unprecedented military exercise in U.S. amid tensions with China

Japanese troops will converge on California’s southern coast in the next two weeks as part of an unprecedented military exercise with U.S. troops aimed at improving that country’s amphibious attack abilities. Continue reading

Japan’s Involvement in U.S. Military Drill ‘Unprecedented’

Japan will participate at an “unprecedented” level in a large-scale U.S.-led military exercise in California later this month, as it seeks to further strengthen coordination with its main ally and its ability to mount an amphibious assault aimed at capturing isolated island territory.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will take part for the first time in the periodic multi-nation exercise to be held in California from mid-June. In the exercise, troops will engage in amphibious assault training with U.S. marines intended to enhance their island-capturing and other capabilities. Continue reading

Abe warns of possible military response to intruder subs

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Tokyo could mount a military response if foreign submarines enter its territorial waters while underwater, as Japan and China continue to squabble over islands.

“These are serious acts. If submarines enter our territorial waters while underwater, we would have to implement maritime security action,” Abe told the Diet. Continue reading

Japanese Defense — Going Nuclear?

Recent reports about the imminence of the opening of a massive reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, northern Honshu, have analysts wondering about the Japanese government’s intent for its use. The real concern is that the plant could produce weapons-grade plutonium for manufacturing nuclear weapons. Continue reading

PAC3 missile interceptors deployed in Tokyo

Japan’s Defense Ministry has deployed surface-to-air interceptor missiles at its premises in central Tokyo to prepare for a possible missile launch by North Korea.

The measure is part of Japan’s Self Defense Force contingency preparations. However, details of the plan are being kept confidential for security reasons. Continue reading

China navy seeks to “wear out” Japanese ships in disputed waters

China’s naval and paramilitary ships are churning up the ocean around islands it disputes with Tokyo in what experts say is a strategy to overwhelm the numerically inferior Japanese forces that must sail out to detect and track the flotillas.

It wasn’t until China became embroiled in the high stakes territorial dispute with Japan late last year that its secretive military opened up.

Now, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is routinely telegraphing its moves around the disputed islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Continue reading