Japan and China are gradually becoming the main adversaries in the Asia-Pacific region. However, if in the first half of the twentieth century the advantage of the Japanese was indisputable, now the situation has changed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe compared the situation in the Asia-Pacific region with the eve of the First World War. Tokyo and Beijing play the role of London and Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century in this confrontation.
The Prime Minister of Japan at the World Economic Forum in Davos made a statement in which he compared the relations of Japan and China with the Anglo-German rivalry on the eve of the First World War. According to the Japanese politician, despite the fact that on the eve of the war the two great powers - the British and German empires - had comprehensive economic ties and trade relations, this did not prevent them from entering into conflict with each other. At the same time, the Japanese prime minister called China the main cause of instability in the region due to its large-scale military programs.
The hint is obvious. The current Japan and China also have developed economic ties. Therefore, many experts who reject the idea of the possibility of a serious regional conflict in the APR are pushing precisely on the economic factor. They say that fighting is unprofitable, it is more profitable to cooperate. However, the economy is not the main factor that causes the war. In addition, the war leads to the development of technology, contributes to scientific and technological progress, infrastructure upgrades.
However, later, the press secretary of the head of the Japanese government, Yoshihide Suga, hastened to muffle the acuteness of Abe’s words, assuring the press that the prime minister did not consider a war between the two countries possible. The spokesman also noted that Shinzo Abe is in favor of dialogue and the rule of law, for limiting "the endless military expansion in Asia." Speaking in Davos, the Japanese prime minister called on the leading powers of the region not to increase military strength and "create a mechanism of crisis management, as well as channels of communication between our armed forces."
The next stage of cooling of Japan-China relations began at the end of 2013, due to territorial disputes over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu). In November, Beijing announced the establishment of its air defense zone around the disputed territories. This provoked an angry reaction from Japan, the United States and South Korea. Japanese, American and South Korean aircraft continued regular patrol flights in the disputed zone. China did not aggravate the conflict, although initially promised to "ground" the violators.
Japan creates a full-fledged military
A more serious step for Japan was the adoption of a new national defense strategy in December 2013. The military budget will grow, self-defense forces will provide new technology and make it even more mobile, they will have the right to deploy outside the country. In addition, the air defense and missile defense systems will be upgraded. The troops are grouped with an emphasis on the south-western territories, that is, disputed territories with China. The formations that will be deployed in the south-eastern territories will be on high alert. To be able to fight the enemy, a special amphibious compound is formed in the sea zone that can solve the problem of capturing islands. It will be equipped with Osprey tweeters and amphibious amphibians.
The new national defense strategy includes a short-term and long-term program. The first is for 5 years (2014-2018), the second is ten years. The Japanese army is already considered professional, having the newest weapons. According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, Japan ranked fifth in the world in military expenditures in 2013, second only to the United States, China, Russia and the United Kingdom. The Japanese military budget amounted to about 58 billion. Japan’s main rival in the APR, China, has spent more than 114 billion dollars on defense. In the coming years, Tokyo will allocate about 240 billion dollars for defense needs. Thus, in 2014, Japan may take the fourth place in the world in military spending, and in a few years to enter the top three. In general, the financing of self-defense forces, despite the continuation of the protracted crisis in the economy, will be increased by 2,6%, and later by 5%.
Japan is once again becoming a great power, which claims its special place in the world. After the Second World War, when the Japanese empire (formally it is still an empire, since the emperor of Japan - “a symbol of the state and unity of the people”) was crushed and humiliated, she was forced to abandon the armed forces. Under the control of the head of the occupying forces of the American General Douglas MacArthur, the Japanese Constitution was written. The ninth article of the main law proclaimed the refusal of the sovereign right of a nation to its own army and the right to wage war by the state. Also, the Japanese abandoned the threat or use of armed force as a means of resolving international disputes.
The security of Japan was provided by American troops. The attack on Japan is still considered an attack on the United States. Gradually, the Americans from the occupiers became the main allies. Japan needed the US to contain the USSR and the PRC. In addition, the initial absence of the army allowed the Japanese budget to save considerably and freed up workers.
However, given the threat from the USSR and China, the United States allowed Japan to form National Security Forces, and in the 1954 year to transform them into Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. Formally, the Self-Defense Forces are a civilian (non-military) organization. By the beginning of the XXI century, with the full support of the United States, they were turned into a large professional army. Japan does not yet have some types of offensive weapons, it is only beginning to lift restrictions on military-technical cooperation with other powers, it does not have a nuclear weapons. But it's a matter of time to complete the process of turning Japan into a full-fledged great military power. And we are currently witnessing this process.
After the launch of the DPRK ballistic missiles in August 1998, Tokyo raised the issue of creating a missile defense system. In 2004, Washington and Tokyo signed an agreement of mutual understanding, which became the basis for cooperation in the field of missile defense. Japan allowed the Americans to deploy forward-based radars on their territory and began to participate in the production and procurement of Aegis, Patriot and SM-3 antimissiles. In 2007, Japan announced its intention to create a national missile defense system to protect against potential threats from the DPRK and China. Now the basis of the national missile defense system are six destroyers with the Aegis system, equipped with SM-3 antimissiles. The Navy should soon receive two more similar ships. In 2013, the Americans reported the deployment of a second radar station in Japan.
In 2005, the Japanese authorities put forward a proposal to give the status of a military organization to self-defense forces, for which it was necessary to change the basic law. In 2006, the bill on giving the status of a ministry to Japan’s self-defense forces was approved. In 2010, Japan banned the export of military technology. Japanese companies received the right to create joint ventures with foreign firms.
Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDPYA) began to actively promote the ideas of militarization of Japan. In December 2012 of the year, after coming to power, the project of large-scale reform of the armed forces was approved. It provides for the development of a missile defense system, giving the army the right to act outside of Japan and the creation of a marine corps. In the spring of 2013, this project was approved by the National Defense Council.
There are several special moments in the Japanese transformations. Firstly, the Japanese armed forces will have the right to act outside the country, to strike at enemy bases. Previously, self-defense forces had only defensive functions, now these restrictions have been removed.
Secondly, in 2014, the Japanese government must approve the right to collective self-defense. Thus, if someone attacks the Allies, Japan will come to their aid. For Japan, this is a political breakthrough, now it can expand the scope of its military activities to virtually the entire planet, not limited to protecting the Japanese islands from the aggressor.
Thirdly, Japan is revising the ban on the import of weapons and enhances the development of the PTS. This will cause the development of the Japanese Military Industrial Complex and lead to the emergence of Japanese military developments on the world market. The first steps in this direction have already been made. In 2012, Japan and England entered into an agreement for cooperation in the joint development of military systems. England became the first country with which Japan concluded a similar agreement, in addition to the United States. In 2013, Japan began negotiations on joint development of weapons with Turkey. At the beginning of 2014, military technical cooperation between Japan and India was intensified. A preliminary agreement was reached between the two Asian powers on the purchase by India of Japanese seaplanes US-2. Almost simultaneously, Japan agreed to strengthen military ties and increase military-technical cooperation with France. Among the priorities are drones, helicopters and submarines.
It can be seen with the naked eye that Tokyo is stepping up its military ties with the leading countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Great Britain and France are the great military powers with nuclear weapons, modern military technologies. In addition, London retains the neo-colonial system known as the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes almost all the former dominions, colonies and protectorates of the British Empire. And France has a similar system to Africa, controlling its former colonies through the financial system - the franc currency zone (CFA franc BEAC and CFA franc BCEAO). At the same time, the French stepped up their military policy in Africa. Turkey, although it has some autonomy, is also a member of NATO. India is the main potential opponent of China in South Asia.
Fourthly, in Japan, a law was passed, according to which a significant part of issues related to national defense and the military field would be further classified. This is not to say that before this area was transparent, but now the level of secrecy will increase even more. This speaks, if not of the approach of the military, then of prewar time for sure.
At the same time, ground, sea and air forces are expected to increase their striking power and mobility. Japan will continue to build “light aircraft carriers” (destroyers, helicopter carriers), destroyers and submarines. The Air Force will strengthen the fifth generation fighter F-35 Lightning II, unmanned aviation systems such as the American strategic UAV RQ-4 Global Hawke. At the same time, Japan stepped up a program to create its own fifth-generation fighter. In the ground forces, emphasis is placed on lighter and more maneuverable wheeled armored vehicles, which can be easily transferred over a developed communications network.
Obviously, the national-patriotic course will continue, and in a relatively short time Japan will regain the status lost in 1945, the status of a great military power. The positions of Shinzo Abe in the party and parliament are very strong and it is doubtful that in the conditions of the global crisis, Tokyo will adhere to a pacifist policy. True, the Japanese still have to solve the problem of a sick economy. However, the development of the military-industrial complex will help to solve this problem.
It is clear that so far neither Tokyo nor Beijing are in the mood to escalate the conflict, much less to war. However, we know that the line between war and peace is very narrow. A huge zone of instability is forming at the eastern borders of Russia at a rapid pace. And this is not only the relationship between China and Japan, but also the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The Americans are doing everything to ensure that relations between the DPRK and South Korea are on the verge of an explosion.
Russia finds itself in a difficult situation. Japan and the United States are not friends. We should not forget about the territorial claims of Japan. Tokyo claims to four islands of the Kuril chain - Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. The peace treaty between Russia and Japan has not been signed. But China is not a strategic ally. If China can achieve superiority in the APR, it will sooner or later pay attention to the northern direction (Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan). Our military weakness in the eastern strategic direction and the practically deserted spaces of the Far East and Siberia is a huge problem.
It is not too late, it is necessary to restore the power of the Pacific and Northern fleets (the Northern Fleet, if necessary, can support the Pacific). It is necessary to have on the Kuriles and Sakhalin forces and means capable of preventing any thoughts of Japan about the "small victorious operation." In respect of China, one should adhere to friendly neutrality, at the same time restoring the capabilities of the Air Force, Air Defense, Missile Defense and ground forces of the Eastern Military District. At the same time, it is necessary to turn the Far East and Siberia into the “locomotive of development” of the whole of Russia.