The Case for Japanese Land Power in the First Island Chain

War on the Rocks – At this juncture, Japan’s new strategies envision a refashioned Ground Self-Defense Force which will be more cross-domain, lethal, mobile, and survivable. As such, it will better support joint and bilateral operations with the U.S. military along the first island chain. Given its evolving roles and missions, the Ground Self-Defense Force has the opportunity to take the lead in the endeavor to modernize the alliance.

Japan’s Strategic Shift is Significant, But Implementation Hurdles Await

War on the Rocks – Japan’s new strategic documents appear to demonstrate a recognition in Tokyo that it must do more for its own defense in the face of unprecedented security challenges. The dedication of resources, pursuit of new capabilities, and overarching commitment to a more robust defense are all significant moves that represent landmark change by one of America’s key allies — indeed, one of the most consequential strategic developments in the region in years. As positive as this appears, there is a risk that some ambitions may not be realized — at least on the timeline set out in the documents — due to insufficient resources, manpower, technology, or political will.

Japan Matters If China Invades Taiwan

1945 – James Holmes writes that more musclebound Japan Self-Defense Forces capable of defending the homeland on their own can restore some semblance of sanctuary in the Western Pacific, bolstering the alliance’s ability to vanquish cross-strait aggression. Japan guards the base while U.S. forces go abroad—sounds like an excellent division of labor.

Japan Flies Its RQ-4 Global Hawk For The First Time

War Zone – The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, or JASDF, has officially flown the first of its new RQ-4B Global Hawk surveillance drones that the country started the process of procuring from the United States in 2015. The high-altitude, long-endurance, or HALE, unmanned aerial vehicle is expected to strengthen Japan’s surveillance capabilities as the country explores ways to enhance its situational awareness and better deter and respond to attacks from outside forces like North Korea and China.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Deployment Prompted Record Japanese Fighter Scrambles

USNI News – In a six-month period from April to September, Japanese fighters scrambled 446 times to intercept threatening aircraft from China and Russia, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Many of the aircraft intercepted belonged to the air wing embarked on the People’s Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning

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.