The problem is that these two are pretty much incompatible under the current political situation. There is no way for Japan to give any without China asking for more and China has no interest in compromising either. It seems to be more of the same for the time being.
As would be a slow incremental shift over the years for America as well. It’s all how you define a shift and what you are implying.
Will they become more hawkish? Could do. Will Japan return to pre-WWII days? Absolutely not. China won’t let it, America won’t let it.
Will they become a military dominated government with an Imperial Army and Navy which only report to the emperor? Of course not.
And this exercise sidesteps the question of who they would attack and with what. They have extremely limited ability to project real power beyond their immediate coastlines. They lack the ability to land troops which they do not have anyway.
Also, its widely believed that Japan already has nuclear “pits”, shaped plutonium that could be assembled into a bomb within weeks or months. If they were truly threatened with an invasion they’d have nuclear weapons, until then they have no need (and there would be massive protests if they went nuclear now). Also, their “carriers which are not carriers” could easily launch F-35B’s belonging to other nations in a pinch.
Personally I welcome Japans self defense forces playing a larger role in patrolling the asia pacific area. An alliance of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines could actually stand up to China. China has a larger military but the others have better more modern gear.
I certainly don’t think that Japan is on the verge of reverting to its imperial days or anything like that. Barring those black van guys who occasionally wake me up in the morning, I think the population on the whole strongly supports the current non-interventionist status quo. But, I often hear people overstate Japan’s pacifism, as if any steps taken toward establishing a more typical military would be met with throngs of protesters descending on the Diet. It seems to me like the population on the whole really doesn’t care about politics, and is more or less okay with leaving the decision making to the oligarchs. If those guys decide that they should have stronger military leverage to deal with China, well, as long as they act slowly I don’t think they would meet with that much opposition.
I can imagine a Japan 15~20 years down the line military culture on par with Europe or America.
I don’t know if it’s “widely believed” that Japan had nuclear pits. Certainly it’s well accepted that they could develop the technology for nuclear weapons within say six months, and they have the plutonium and enriched uranium, but whatever work they are doing is a pretty well kept secret if they have already designed a bomb.
So, I’ll ask for a cite.
The carriers can carry about 20 planes, which is hardly a killer offensive platform. It could potentially be used against the Philippine or Vietnamese navies, but not the Chinese. There simply isn’t any possible offensive threat with it.
It’s not going to happen and the Chinese are continuing to modernize their forces sooner than later. The reason they could stand up would be because of political will rather than simply military might.
If you are hearing people overstating Japan’s pacifism, you are listening to too many uninformed opinions. Japan is not Costa Rica.
Having followed Japanese politics for 35 years now and having lived through the rock-solid straight LDP years as well as both changes of government, I partially agree with you but also disagree. Certainly, the Japanese are much more content to turn governing over to the ruling party and care much less about politics than people in Western nations.
There really isn’t much resistance to Japan further strengthening its already well equipped self defense forces, but there would be stronger outcries about massive increases in military spending, which they can’t afford.
Europe’s military culture is not par with America with the exception of Russia, which certainly is much more belligerent and dangerous than the States, but Western European countries have not been nearly as active militarily as the US.
The current state of the Japanese self defense forces is already in the same ballpark as the UK, Germany, and France, ranked there as No. 9 in the world.
Two additional things to keep in mind. One, China is known to pay large throngs of people to post pro China comments on various internet forums, so the ‘fear’ may well all coming from one very clear source.
Two, Who is China’s allies? North Korea? Nope, not any more, lil kim kicked out or executed the pro china members of the elite. Vietnam? Nope, despite being (in name anyway) still communist they really don’t like or trust China. I guess you could maybe call Russia an ally but that relationship is also shaky. China is buying friends in Africa, but they really don’t have any friends in Asia.
So yeah, China has a very clear motive to try and create fear and paranoia amongst the other asian nations over Japan, they definitely do not want everyone else united against them.
I think the reality of Japan’s NAVAIR technical capabilities is somewhere in between these two. It wouldn’t be exactly easy, but even a handful of F-35Bs at sea is a very potent threat.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has three ships in service (and a fourth under construction) that have flight decks longer than the F-35B’s minimum take-off distance (KPP was increased to 600 feet in 2012):
DDH-184: Kaga (to be commissioned in March 2017)
While I’m certain an F-35B could land on any of these ships today, I doubt it could take off from -181 or -182. Take a look at the deck layout of the Hyūga. For starters, there’s a Phalanx CIWS obstructing the bow. Even if that were removed, the bow tapers off towards the center, leaving a very narrow tram line that basically forces an F-35B to “thread the needle” alongside the tower. And it’s got to take off over the top of both elevators because they’re set in along the centerline. I’m not sure how smoothly the elevators meets up with the rest of the flight deck or what effect that may have on take-off runs, but even if we assume it’s not an issue, while take-offs are happening, the elevators can’t be anywhere but in their “up” position. That’s going to constrain sortie generation rate, and the small fight deck (200 feet shorter than LHA-6) won’t hold very many F-35Bs while doing flight operations. Also, I’m not certain that an F-35B would even fit into the elevator on the Hyūga-class ships. Here’s a picture of them lowering an MV-22. It fit, but it’s only 18’ wide when stowed. An F-35B has a 35’ wingspan. Do you think there’s an extra 17’ of clearance on that elevator? I’m skeptical, but maybe.
Things get better for the JMSDF with DDH-183. It’s 168’ longer, has an outboard elevator, and is all-around much better suited to STOVL operations, if only Japan were buying F-35Bs.
All of that is my way of saying that -181 and -182 probably can’t carry or effectively operate more than a handful of F-35Bs, the Izumo maybe a dozen or more Still, I think a couple dozen F-35Bs would be capable of effectively wrecking the navies of most other Asian countries. If you had a hypothetical matchup between the Izumo with a dozen F-35Bs and the Chinese Liaoning with her full complement of J-15s, I’d bet on the Izumo in a heartbeat.
I’m sure its a worry purely over selfishness. Right now, Japan has a mostly defensive military and doesn’t project its power. I don’t think anyone’s really realistically worried about another Sino-Japanese war, they just like that they won’t see Japan’s ships in waters they control. If Japan does militarize again like a normal country, that’s more competition, more things to worry about, even if the worry is simply that China won’t have free access to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands or the South China sea undersea oil
This was precisely my thought. Japan HAS a large and entirely competent military. The question is what they choose to do with it. This is hardly worth discussing because a lot has changed in the last 70 years. I don’t see anyone complaining that Germany is allowed to have a Bundeswehr, or that Virginia is allowed to have a National Guard.
And as Yogsothoth points out, having a military and having the ability to project military force are two veeeery different questions. I’m much more concerned about China, which has been outrageously provocative and aggressive in the region and yet somehow has the gall to paint itself as a victim.
I find this quote unconvincing. Such an alliance might only last long enough to deal with an immediate threat and then collapse, but its certainly possible. If China was to invade another soveriegn asian nation I believe there would be an alliance similar to the one that was used to kick Saddam out of Kuwait in Gulf War I.
Couple of weeks is an exaggeration, it would take months but they have all the necessary pieces and technology to do so, plutonium fuel aplenty, and they have tested reliable delivery vehicles via their space program.
The top article says six months, I’ve seen other articles with differing time spans. Theres no doubt that they have enough plutonium, plenty of expertise in machining to the necessary tolerances, enrichment centrifuges and satellite launch capable rockets that could be adapted into ICBM’s. Quibbling over the exact period of time seems rather pointless to me, if the US for some reason stopped protecting Japan and they were seriously threatened then Japan would develop nuclear weapons as quickly as possible.
Which again says absolutely zip about your specific claims. The ones I’m refusing to allow you to brush aside.
The specifics make a world of difference. It should be painfully obvious as to what is the difference between an abstract ability to create nuclear weapons and having already made that political decision, with all of the accompanying risks, and to have actually began to implement.
You really don’t see the the difference? Or are you not arguing in good faith?
I am not disputing that Japan has the material and capacity to develop nuclear weapons, and the experts say that six months to less than two years is the time frame. No one is disputing that.
However, the “widely believed to have nuclear ‘pits’” is entirely a different claim. It’s specific, it states that Japan has started a weapon project.
You’ve already had a week to find a source for your claim so it’s not going to be forthcoming. Not being able to find cites which don’t exist is impossible, so that part isn’t your fault.
I really have no idea on how to engage you in a debate. I value facts, not bullshit simply to win. We don’t share enough values to have a discussion.
You do realise a nuclear pit is just a pair of shaped hemispheres of plutonium of the right size so that when brought together they form a critical mass? I don’t mean warheads or anything like that. Officially it would be political suicide to have a weapons program, but theres lot of dual use technologies in which it can me made certain that weaponization can happen quickly without officially having a weapons program.
Understand I am a film supporter of Japan having the right to play a greater self defense role in Asia, and certainly if I was witnessing the rise of China as Japan has done I would want to keep my options open to all forms of self defense including nuclear.
I’m not really sure why you’re so hung up on this. Japan is a nuclear threshold state, I’ve given cites on that above. Heres another one:
I’m not trying to “win” anything except pointing that if Japan was seriously threatened they’d go nuclear sooner or later, the actual time it would take them to develop nuclear weapons is classified and not known. Do you at least agree with that?