The integration of U.S.-Japan security is rapidly progressing.
We never really hear discussion about issues of concern, such as being vigilant against getting dragged into conflicts or abandonment; the U.S.-Japan alliance is part of both of these issues.
Reality has moved completely beyond these points.
In March of last year, Adm. Philip Davidson, who at the time was commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that there is a strong possibility that China will invade Taiwan “in the next six years,” suggesting a possible Taiwan crisis within an established time frame.
The U.S. military alone cannot oppose China, which has strengthened its military considerably. The U.S. military depends on the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and it is strengthening Japan’s defensive capabilities.
Last December, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participated in an online symposium held in Taiwan, and emphasized that “A Taiwan contingency is a contingency for Japan. In other words, it is also a contingency for the Japan-U.S. alliance.”
The U.S.-Japan alliance is unifying against China’s arms buildup and maritime expansion, and in the case of an emergency, Japan and the U.S. will conduct joint military operations; such scenarios are starting to be discussed as obvious, without a more thorough argument in the National Diet.
The JSDF is proceeding with deployment of ground troops, anti-aircraft, and anti-ship missiles in the Amami, Miyako, Ishigaki, Yonaguni islands and in Okinawa, the main island.
The U.S. military makes joint use of JSDF garrisons; the two countries repeatedly perform joint exercises in expectation of an emergency. They have also worked out an operation plan for the hypothetical situation of Okinawa’s becoming a battlefield.
The U.S. and Japan share a sense of impending danger over China’s military expansion, but that does not necessarily mean their national goals and interests are in perfect alignment.
Is there no risk in reducing diplomatic options if strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance is a priority?
Is there no concern that strengthening the military deterrence ability would invite countermeasures from China, and as a result, Japan could fall into a so-called “security dilemma” in which its safety is at risk?
If, in response to China’s missile buildup, the JSDF imports long-range cruise missiles, and improves the range of domestically-made missiles, would that not trigger a missiles arms race?
If the U.S. deploys intermediate-range ballistic missiles in this region according to plans, China will certainly take countermeasures.
The tendency toward outlawing war has been halted and the worldwide movement toward military expansion has strengthened. Japan ought to carry out its role in backing away from this trend.
Our greatest uneasiness is that Okinawa will be blown away, without any burden reduction coming to fruition, and that Okinawa will be targeted by missile attacks from enemy nations because of the military fortifications and will, once again, become a war zone. This is the worst vision for the future of Okinawa.
Merely strengthening deterrence ability could, instead, actually increase regional tensions.
The Liberal Democratic Party of the government seemingly justifies strengthening defensive capabilities by fanning the flames of a sense of impending crisis and pressing forward on fortifying the Nansei Islands with missiles. Above all else, we hope that the National Diet will thoroughly discuss the issue.