The Japanese military is quietly building a series of land-based anti-ship and air defense missile bases specifically to confront what Tokyo believes is its biggest long-term threat: China.
Ishigaki is one location where the Japan Self-Defense Forces have selected for one of its new bases.
As the Japanese government under PM Shinzo Abe rethinks its strict pacifism, there is a new realization among lawmakers and senior leaders that China seeks regional, if not global, hegemony, which threatens Japan’s existence.
Later this week, Abe’s Cabinet is set to approve a 2.5 percent increase in military spending moving forward, as a means of financing the missile base expansion.
There will be funds allowed for the new bases on the southern islands, as well as the country’s first cruise missiles and a new ballistic-missile defense shield.
While some say cruise missiles are an offensive weapon — Japan’s post-WWII constitution forbids offensive military operations — Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera says they are for protection against invasion.
While Japan’s military spending is about one-third of what the U.S. spends and about half of what China does, observers say recent purchases of ultra-modern fighters from the United States and other weapons systems put the country on course to field one of the world’s most capable forces.
Abe has argued that Japan should do more to defend itself and reduce its dependency on the U.S. military. Part of that strategy, he says, is amending the constitution to recognize Japan’s right to have a capable military. [source]
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