ASSESSMENTS

The Double-Edged Sword of Japanese Remilitarization

MIN READAug 18, 2016 | 09:15 GMT

With help from the U.S. Marine Corps, Japan is converting its Western Army Infantry Regiment into a unit specially trained in amphibious operations, bringing the country one step closer to remilitarization.

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan may be picking up the pace on its long and steady path toward normalizing its military. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Aug. 14 that the Japanese intend to develop a new vehicle-mounted surface-to-ship missile with an enhanced range of 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) by 2023. When deployed from islands of the southern Ryukyu island chain, the missile will be within range of the Senkaku Islands. On its own, the new missile's development would not be a singularly important event; the Japanese, after all, have long fielded an array of anti-ship missiles. But the Japanese media have hinted that the missile will have a built-in capacity to strike at land targets. If the suggestions are accurate, Japan may be cultivating an offensive capability that it has forgone in the past, potentially putting one of its main military allies, the United States, in a difficult position....

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