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Japan Upping its Defenses – Wary of China (The Arkin Group) 

Japan Upping its Defenses – Wary of China (The Arkin Group) 

Japan is finally moving away from the pacifist foreign policy it adopted in the wake of World War II. As outlined in a December 2022 white paper, the island nation will be doubling its defense budget (up from 1% of GDP) and expanding military cooperation with allies including the United States, Australia, India, and Europe. 

The shift is a direct result of geopolitical changes including: 

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
  • The increased military cooperation between China and Russia
  • North Korea’s ongoing nuclear program 
  • China’s harassment of Taiwan 
  • China’s claims in the South China Sea and beyond

Chinese ships have been spotted twice this year near the contested Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands (pictured above), a group of uninhabited islands located between China and Japan. Though the region has long been considered a part of Japan, China started to make ownership claims after evidence of oil reserves was discovered.

Moving into 2023, Tokyo believes it is high time to “fundamentally reinforce its defense capabilities as the last guarantor of national security,” explains an op-ed published by The Arkin Group (TAG). “[Japan] also wants to be able to deter an attack by developing a counter strike capability, which is where things really diverge from previous policy.”

Japan’s new defense strategy reveals an interest in air and missile defense, cruise missiles, cyber security, stockpiling ammunition, and space defense as well as efforts to reduce economic reliance on China. 

The new stance has already produced concrete action.

In January, Japanese Prime Minister and G7 chairman Fumio Kishida visited France, Italy, the UK and the US in order to secure agreements on foreign policy and defense cooperation. This month, he signed a joint declaration with NATO head Jens Stoltenberg. This week, Japan joined a US-led effort to restrict the amount of chip-making equipment sold to China. 

“Further, as Japan, and others, adapt policies to increase self-defense in areas ranging from military equipment to food and supply chain, EU and Western alliances are likely to expand, and leaders in Moscow and Beijing will be increasingly confronted with the unanticipated ramifications of their aggression and partnership.”

The Arkin Group is a unique consulting firm that combines prescient analysis with well-sourced intelligence. Founded in 2000 by former CIA Director of Ops Jack Devine and New York lawyer Stanley Arkin, the group has helped hundreds of clients throughout the world make smart business decisions.

Once a month, the group publishes an op-ed that is “heavily informed by the European perspective.” As stated on its website, the purpose of the monthly piece is to “offer our readers an enriched understanding of global events and allow for a more robust international risk calculus.” This month’s article presents a unique perspective on some of the changes occurring in Japan. 


The Arkin Group website

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