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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 19 - 2019 January 8  > JCP Koike comments on Abe government’s new defense program
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2018 December 19 - 2019 January 8 [POLITICS]

JCP Koike comments on Abe government’s new defense program

December 19, 2018
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on December 18 issued a comment on the new National Defense Program Guidelines and Medium Term Defense Program, both approved in the Cabinet meeting on the day. The full text of his comment is as follows:

The new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP) which were approved on December 18 at a meeting of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Cabinet put emphasis on further strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance and improving Japan’s defense capability at an unprecedentedly high speed. In order to achieve this, the Abe government in the documents has proposed establishing a multi-dimensioned integrated defense capability and said that it will spend 27.47 trillion yen on military expenditures in the next five years, which is 2.8 trillion yen more than the amount spent for the current MTDP. With this massive military buildup plan and other related measures, the Abe government is expanding the Self-Defense Forces’ ability to deploy troops abroad as rapid deployment forces.

In particular, the Abe government in the documents states that it will convert the Izumo-class escort vessels into de facto aircraft carriers which can carry F-35B, stealth fighters with short take-off and vertical landing capability (STVOL). In addition, seeking to have an ability to strike enemy bases, the Abe government will introduce long-range cruise missiles which can be launched outside an enemy’s attack range. These moves evidently conflict with the conventional constitutional interpretation by which Japan’s possession of offensive weaponry is not allowed in any situation because it goes beyond the minimum force level necessity for self-defense purposes. These moves are aimed at transforming the SDF, which is at present tasked to engage exclusively in defensive operations, into a military force readied for overseas military missions and turning Japan into a nation capable of fighting in wars abroad together with the U.S. Such moves are totally unacceptable.

The new "guidelines" see China's arms buildup and North Korea's military developments as "strong concerns" and as "critical and imminent threats". In order to counter these threats, state-of-the-art stealth fighter jets, ground-based missile interceptor "Aegis Ashore" systems, Osprey aircraft, surveillance drones, and the latest model refueling aircraft will be introduced. What is more, according to the new NDPG, Japan will build cross-domain, "full-spectrum dominance" defense capabilities covering all areas including space, cyberspace, and electromagnetic warfare and will establish new units specializing in space defense, cyberspace, and electromagnetic operations.

However, the Korean Peninsula is boldly moving toward denuclearization and peace. In this situation, the Abe government's attempt to beef up Japan's military capability and to turn Japan into a "war-capable nation" is totally unacceptable.

Furthermore, most of weapons will be procured through the U.S. administration's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Under the insistence of President Trump, Japan is going to buy a lot of prohibitively expensive weapons and weapons systems from the U.S.

In addition, based on the national security-related legislation (war laws) and the new Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines, the new NDPG states that Japan will formulate and renew a joint plan and "extended deterrence" talks, including maintaining a "nuclear deterrence" system. Japan will also conduct "logistics support" for U.S. troops and engage in the "protection of U.S. military vessels and aircraft" even more than at present. Japan will thus strengthen its "dynamic defense capabilities" and increase overseas joint military exercises with the U.S. forces. By promoting Japan-U.S. military integration, Japan will reinforce its ability to fight abroad together with the U.S. forces.

The Abe government's policy of military expansion and creating a "war-capable nation" has a backward-looking effect on the ongoing trend of world history working for peace.

The JCP is strongly opposed to this dangerous and outdated strategy and plan which will turn Japan back into a "nation fighting wars abroad" by trampling more violently on the pacifist principles of the Constitution and promoting an arms buildup and overseas military deployment.
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