China and Russia’s ‘No Limits’ Pact Has Japan Beefing Up Its Defenses

July 30, 2022 Topic: Japan Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: JapanJapan Self-Defense ForcesChinaIndo-PacificRussian Military

China and Russia’s ‘No Limits’ Pact Has Japan Beefing Up Its Defenses

Japan’s recently published Defense of Japan 2022 white paper outlines a series of critical, time-sensitive initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s force posture in the Pacific and deterring China.

 

Japan’s recently published Defense of Japan 2022 white paper outlines a series of critical, time-sensitive initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s force posture in the Pacific and deterring China.

The text of the document cites particular concerns with what it describes as Chinese “coercion” and efforts to “change the status quo” in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

 

This has long been a concern for the United States, Japan, and other Asian allies, and these worries are being exacerbated by increased Russo-Sino collaboration.

“The country’s ties with Russia, an aggressor nation, have deepened in recent years, with joint navigations and flights being conducted in the areas surrounding Japan by both Chinese and Russian vessels and aircraft,”  the text of the Defense of Japan 2022 document says.

Perhaps of greatest concern to Japan, Russian-Chinese cooperation has been quite active in eastern Russia, closer to Japan.

“In the vicinity of Japan, Russia has made moves to strengthen cooperation with China, such as through joint bomber flights and joint warship sails involving the Russian and Chinese militaries, as well as moves to portray such military cooperation as ‘strategic coordination.’ These trends warrant concern and must continue to be closely watched in the future,” the Japanese report warns.

Adding this regional threat dynamic, the Japanese white paper identifies Russia’s emerging Zircon hypersonic weapon as a growing and very serious threat, perhaps in part because it may be in a position to threaten Japan from eastern Russia.

“Having ensured that its nuclear capability rivals that of the U.S., the country has been accelerating the deployment of new weapons, such as planning the mass production and deployment of hypersonic cruise missile ‘Zircon’ from 2022, and improving its asymmetric warfare capabilities through electronic warfare equipment and other measures,” the report says.

As recently as last year, the report specified, Chinese and Russian warships conducted joint “sails,” which the report says warrant concern.

Of particular concern to the Japanese, China is “relentlessly continuing unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion near the Senkaku Islands.”

These more recent developments are identified in the report as key reasons why Japan increased 2022 defense spending through what the document calls Japan’s “Defense-Strengthening Acceleration Package.”

The report does not mention specifics regarding which particular weapons systems may be increased but rather identifies key areas of emphasis, such as allied cooperation and training, intelligence gathering technology, force posture requirements, and accelerated modernization. Elements of this likely include Japan's multi-billion dollar F-35 purchase, Global Hawk drones, and the continuation of many collaborative weapons programs with the U.S. military, including the SM-3 IIA, the Aegis Combat System, and the Evolved Seasparrow Missile Block II.

The document also calls for a general focus in the area of accelerated intelligence gathering. Japanese progress and modernization efforts in the realm of intelligence, according to the report, include “collecting, processing, and analyzing military communication radio waves, electronic weapons and other radio waves transmitted in the airspace over Japan.”  The report goes on to specify that this improved and expanded analysis will also include data from satellites, surveillance aircraft, and warships.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters.