Assessments

Japan Modernizes Its Air Force, but Will It Be Enough?

Nov 20, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
An Oct. 14, 2018, photo shows an F-35A fighter aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force taking part in a military review at Asaka training ground in Asaka, Saitama prefecture, Japan.

An Oct. 14, 2018, photo shows an F-35A fighter aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force taking part in a military review at Asaka training ground in Asaka, Saitama prefecture, Japan.

(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan is accelerating its military normalization process by building up its offensive capabilities, and especially those of its Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The Oct. 29 U.S. approval of Japan's request for a major upgrade to its F-15J fighter aircraft that will see 98 of the jets equipped with advanced radar and the ability to fire cruise missiles marks a critical step in Japan's move away from its post-World War II pacifist stance. A stronger, better rounded JASDF will enhance Tokyo's defense options. But in an increasingly complex threat environment including an expanding Chinese military and a declining Japanese aerospace defense industry, Japan will have its work cut out for it when it comes to national defense....

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