With massive F-35 increase, Japan is now biggest international buyer

Defense News – Japan will officially increase its order of F-35 joint strike fighters, including procurement of the F-35B model for use at sea.

Aegis Ashore Scores Another Hit As US, Japan Build Up Defenses

Breaking Defense – By 2021, plans call for Japan to have eight Aegis destroyers, four of them capable of launching the SM-3 Block IIA missiles, whose second successful test in a row comes as a vindication after two previous failures.

What World War I Tells Us About a China-Japan War Today

National Interest – Consider what the Great War has to say about the military balance between China and Japan and how an East Asian war might unfold. Conventional opinion in Japan has long held that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would more or less steamroller the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) in wartime. Demographics, economics, defense budgets, you name it: they all line up on China’s side.

The Chinese vessel we encountered during a fuelling drill

Straits Times – What it is like for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force to operate in the South China Sea.

U.S. carrier leads warships in biggest ever Japan defense war game

Reuters – U.S. fighter jets darted over the Western Pacific on Saturday as the nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier joined Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship for the biggest combat readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan.

Japan Is Taking A Two-Step Approach To Fielding Its First Operational Hypersonic Weapons

War Zone – The Japanese are rushing to develop the weapons amid concerns about increasing Chinese encroachment on their territorial claims.

Japanese Amphibious Soldiers Hit the Beach in the Philippines with U.S. Marines, 7th Fleet

USNI News – It was no ordinary beach assault when troops took off on amphibious assault vehicles from a U.S. Navy ship and raced ashore in a training exercise with U.S. Marines. That’s because the landing onto a Philippine beach by Japanese soldiers from their AAV-P7/A1 amtracs marked a significant step in bolstering Japan’s capabilities of its nascent Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.

Fastidious Flattop: Japanese helicopter carrier wages daily war on dirt and grime

Reuters – Japan’s Kaga helicopter carrier is not the biggest, fastest or most powerful warship to sail the seas, but its 500 crew wage a daily war on dirt and grime to keep it the cleanest.

Japan’s women sailors serve on frontline of gender equality

Reuters – Women serving on Japan’s biggest warship, the Kaga, are a tight-knit group on the frontline of a push to transform the Japanese navy into a mixed-gender fighting force, where men outnumber them more than 10 to one.

Japanese submarine conducts first drills in South China Sea

Reuters – A Japanese submarine has for the first time joined a naval drill in the South China Sea in an expansion of Japanese activity in the disputed waterway claimed by China and others.

Japanese destroyer shoots down ballistic missile off Hawaii

Defense News – Japanese Aegis destroyer Atago detected and shot down a short-range ballistic missile in space Tuesday in a joint test with the U.S. Navy using the SM-3 Block IB missile.

Annual White Paper on Defense

Japanese Ministry of Defense – An excellent look at how the Japanese see the Chinese threat to Japan.

Japan’s Defense Readiness: Prospects and Issues in Operationalizing Air and Maritime Supremacy

US Naval War College Review – Facing a fluid regional security environment and the need to strengthen its alliance role, Japan has worked to increase the capabilities of the Japan Self-Defense Forces by adjusting the relevant bureaucratic, political, and operational frameworks and making key investments in new force structures.

Japan’s New Super-Sized Destroyer Will Help Defend Against Ballistic Missiles And More

War Zone – The pair of ships could shoot down North Korea missiles, as well as challenge Chinese claims and aid Japan in projecting power beyond its shores.

Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga to embark on two-month tour of South China Sea and Indian Ocean

Japan Times – Japan will send a large helicopter carrier to the South China Sea and Indian Ocean for a second straight year as it looks to bolster its presence in the strategic maritime region with annual tours.

Japan activates first marines since WWII to bolster defenses against China

Reuters – Japan on Saturday activated its first marine unit since World War II trained to counter invaders occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo fears are vulnerable to attack by China.

Japan launches amphibious unit, but equipping concerns remain

Defense News – Japan has launched its first full-scale amphibious operations unit as part of a sweeping reorganization of its ground force, but questions remain about equipment delays and future basing.

In major shake-up, Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force gets centralized command amid regional tensions

Japan Times – The Ground Self-Defense Force underwent its biggest organizational shake-up Tuesday, with command streamlined for flexible nationwide operations and the creation of amphibious forces tasked with defending remote islands.

Officials Admit Japan’s ‘Helicopter Destroyers’ Were Also Designed For Jets

War Zone – The Japanese government has consistently and vehemently denied that its hulking helicopter carriers were built with tactical jets in mind.

Australia and Japan Expected to Finalize Visiting Forces Agreement Next Month

USNI News – Japan and Australia are close to inking their first visiting forces agreement, which would pave the way to smoother combined military operations.

Japan considers refitting helicopter carrier for stealth fighters

Reuters – Japan is considering refitting the Izumo helicopter carrier so that it can land F-35B stealth fighters, as Tokyo faces China’s maritime expansion and North Korea’s missile and nuclear development.

Japan Cabinet Approves Aegis Ashore Buy to Supplement DDGs In Ballistic Missile Defense

USNI News – The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved the purchase of two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems this week to counter the threat of ballistic missiles from North Korea.

Japan’s military begins major drill with U.S. carriers watching North Korea

Reuters – Japan’s navy and air force began a three-day military exercise with two U.S. aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan on Thursday adding pressure on North Korea to halt an accelerating ballistic missile program.

Japan’s growing concern over China’s naval might

BBC – The pride of Japan’s naval defence, the JS Izumo, is making an unprecedented journey through Asian waters over the next three months.

Japan Considering Buying Tomahawks for Destroyer Fleet to Deter North Korea

USNI News – Officials in Japan are weighing arming their fleet of guided-missile destroyers with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles as a hedge against North Korean missile attacks.