Japan’s New Military Buildup Seen as Response to North Korea, China

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 23, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

Ja­pan plans to ac­quire more-cap­able weapons and es­tab­lish a mar­ine force be­cause of the per­ceived se­cur­ity threat posed by North Korea and China, the Korea Her­ald re­por­ted.

After dec­ades of hew­ing to a strictly self-de­fens­ive mil­it­ary pos­ture, Ja­pan in re­cent months has in­dic­ated it plans to ac­quire of­fens­ive mil­it­ary cap­ab­il­it­ies such as bal­list­ic mis­siles that could be used to carry out ad­vance at­tacks on North Korea’s stra­tegic as­sets.

Some of Ja­pan’s space-pro­gram activ­it­ies have ap­plic­a­tions in the de­vel­op­ment of stra­tegic weapons. On Tues­day, the is­land na­tion is slated to fire its sol­id-fueled Ep­si­lon rock­et, which could po­ten­tially be ad­ap­ted to power an ICBM.

These arm­a­ment plans have raised re­gion­al con­cerns that Tokyo may be shed­ding its post-World War II pa­ci­fist de­fense pos­ture.

“What is wor­ri­somely … is that Ja­pan’s rearm­a­ment would be met with China’s re­ac­tion, which could cause re­gion­al in­stabil­ity,” Korea Na­tion­al De­fense Uni­versity Ja­pan re­search­er Park Young-june said.

The United States, however, is seen as sup­port­ive of Ja­pan tak­ing on a more as­sert­ive re­gion­al role, as it could be use­ful in meet­ing the chal­lenge of China’s grow­ing mil­it­ary might.