Japan's High-Tech Militarization: Asserting Independence in an Uncertain World

Jun 3, 2019 | 10:00 GMT

A Japanese X-2 experimental stealth fighter takes off from Komaki airport in Japan on April 22, 2016.

A Japanese X-2 experimental stealth fighter takes off from Komaki airport in April 2016. Japan is committed to developing its own weaponry under a new defense policy.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)


  • Japan will continue to move over the next five years toward establishing an independent defense policy while maintaining its security alliance with the United States.
  • A commitment to a high-tech military and the development of its own military-industrial complex define Japan's new defense policy.
  • Surrounded by threats from China, Russia and North Korea, facing formidable demographic problems and concerned about American willingness to come to its defense, Japan feels it has no choice but to pursue more robust military capabilities.

East Asia's security environment continues to be a cause for concern for Japan, what with the ever-acute threat of regional powers with great military latitudes, such as China, North Korea and Russia. At the same time, Tokyo has growing fears that Washington, whose power is in decline, will not come to Japan's defense in case of an attack. And then there are Japan's domestic problems, such as its diminishing, aging population, as well as concerns among some citizens that the country intends to shed the pacifist restraints imposed by Article 9 of its postwar constitution. Against such a backdrop, Japan has launched a defense policy that, over the next five years, will enhance its security while maintaining its alliance with the United States. Ultimately, Japanese military leaders are banking that the plan will address its regional concerns while also allowing the country to assert its independence....

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