Big Scary China

Published on Author Juan

Japan has crossed a little-noted threshold by providing its first military aid abroad since the end of World War II, approving a $2 million package for its military engineers to train troops in Cambodia and East Timor in disaster relief and skills like road building. Japanese warships have not only conducted joint exercises with a growing number of military forces in the Pacific and Asia, but they have also begun making regular port visits to countries long fearful of a resurgence of Japan’s military. And after stepping up civilian aid programs to train and equip the coast guards of other nations, Japanese defense officials and analysts say, Japan could soon reach another milestone: beginning sales in the region of military hardware like seaplanes, and perhaps eventually the stealthy diesel-powered submarines considered well suited to the shallow waters where China is making increasingly assertive territorial claims.

One Response to Big Scary China

  1. The lead time in military sales is long, and Japanese suppliers often lag others because it was a side-business that depended on sourcing by the Japanese defense agency. It’s hard to see a resurgence of the Japanese military in an era when they are less than fully manned and where the number of young Japanese is falling. At the same time, by any standards except total manpower the Japanese air force and navy are first-class and tied into the US alliance. Nor is it small, in the budgetary sense (given the cost of a single fighter or destroyer). So for the time being it could hold its own, but that won’t be the case two decades from now, when simply staffing basic functions may be hard!