Controlling The First Island Chain: How To Ensure China Can’t Dominate The Pacific?

1945 – James Holmes writes that if you harbored any doubt that the first island chain represents the focal point of strategy, counterstrategy, and counter-counterstrategy in the Western Pacific, take a gander at recent developments out of Tokyo and Beijing. Exhibit A: the Japan Ministry of Defense released Defense of Japan 2022, an official statement wherein the ministry takes stock of Japan’s strategic surroundings and explains in general terms how it intends to manage them.

The Quad Goes to Sea

War on the Rocks – The biggest announcement from President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia may be the one that got the least attention. The Quad, a grouping consisting of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, has just announced a maritime domain awareness partnership that will provide a new stream of data from commercial satellites to countries across the Indo-Pacific.

Japan Countering China’s Naval Build-up with Modern Fleet

USNI News – Japan doesn’t talk much about its naval capabilities because of its historical aversion to offensive capabilities following its defeat in World War II. This has been defined in Article 9 of its post-war constitution. However, as an island nation and a naval power, it has still been able to assemble a modern version of a big gun fleet, but it’s designed for defensive operations. But over the past two decades, the rise of China as a global power and North Korea’s attempts to develop long-range nuclear missiles present a two-fold threat to the island nation.

Japan’s Revolution on Taiwan Affairs

War on the Rocks – The most important development for Taiwan’s security might be unfolding right now in Japan. Tokyo’s strategy toward Taiwan is dramatically shifting. Once reluctant to join all but the most anodyne of pro-Taiwan statements with the United States, Japanese officials now increasingly state their desire to “protect Taiwan as a democratic country.” While no formal changes in security policy or diplomatic legalities are likely, Tokyo is signaling that it is willing to support Taiwan’s sovereignty, up to and including joining a military defense of the island against Chinese attack. This is likely giving Chinese Communist Party leaders and military planners much more short-term heartburn than the recently announced submarine and technology sharing deal between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

‘Lightning Carriers’ Could Be Lightweights in an Asian War

War on the Rocks – Earlier this month, U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighters embarked on the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ship JS Izumo as a capability validation…It is also a milestone on a path that is establishing smaller aircraft carriers equipped with the F-35B Lightning II, or “Lightning carriers,” as the new capital ships of Asia.

Japan Moves Forward With Aegis Equipped Ship Project. But Is It Enough?

Naval News – According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD)’s budget request for FY2022 announced on August 30, 2021, the budget includes the cost to modify the Lockheed Martin SPY-7 radar in order to operate it at sea. Japan’s SPY-7 radar was initially procured for the land based Aegis Ashore facility.