Abe’s legacy has become a reality, and Japan’s ambition can no longer be hidden!

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Author: Rong ping source: official account: Rong Ping (id:rongping898) has been authorized to reprint

Although Japan is our neighbor with only a narrow strip of water, this neighbor has always known little courtesy but no righteousness, and is afraid of authority but not virtuous. Whoever has a big fist will listen to who. Against the backdrop of the United States stepping up its efforts to contain China, Japan has obviously found its own room to use its strength to actively expand its military and prepare for war, pointing directly at China.

According to the latest report of Nihon Keizai Shimbun on July 19, the Japanese government has decided to cancel the upper limit of defense expenditure in the budgetary requirements of the 2023 fiscal budget, and it is expected that this policy will be formally adopted as soon as this month. According to the previous proposal submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, the abolition of the defense spending ceiling means that Japan’s military spending is likely to double directly. In 2021, Japan’s defense expenditure was about US $54.1 billion, ranking sixth in the world. If it is doubled on this basis, it will be close to US $110billion, ranking third in the world.

This is not our alarmist talk, but something that is about to happen.

For a long time, Japan’s military spending has been controlled within 1% of its GDP. This policy was first put forward by Takeo Mitsuki, then Japan’s prime minister, in 1976, in order to set a ceiling on Japan’s defense spending. Subsequently, the policy became a resolution of the Japanese cabinet. In the 46 years since 1976, Japan’s total military expenditure has exceeded this ceiling for only four years.


In April this year, Japan’s ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, decided to break this ceiling. Its subordinate security survey meeting passed a draft, which mainly revised several documents such as the national security strategy. There is only one policy: continue to increase defense costs, and defense spending must reach 2% of GDP within five years. The Japanese government is actually paving the way for the implementation of the Liberal Democratic Party’s policy by canceling the defense spending ceiling at present, and the main play is still ahead.

Follow Abe’s legacy

First of all, let’s briefly popularize science. Japan’s so-called “defense expenditure” is actually military expenditure, which is named only because the Japanese Constitution stipulates that its armed forces are called the self defense force. However, although the self defense force is called self-defense, its substantive objectives and capabilities are no longer limited to self-defense under the background of the continuous deregulation of Japan’s right-wing forces. After Shinzo Abe amended the Constitution in 2016, the Japanese Self Defense Force has in fact become an army, but this can not meet Shinzo Abe’s ambitions.


In 2017, Shinzo Abe, who has been dissatisfied with Japan’s military strength, finally waited for a great opportunity. Trump, the then president of the United States, asked all allies to increase military spending, “bear the costs they should bear”, and not use U.S. military spending to defend their national defense. This remark was originally intended to hit NATO countries with relatively small military expenditure, but the result was that Shinzo Abe, who has been “underestimating” trump, saw the dawn. He volunteered to the United States to increase military spending. Trump was overjoyed and spoke highly of this move. Matisse, then U.S. Defense Secretary, even said that “Japan must not be satisfied with the status quo” and actively supported Japan’s sharp rise in military spending. He obviously forgot how Japan bombed Pearl Harbor during World War II.


After obtaining the approval of the United States, Shinzo Abe began to spread information to express his intention to increase defense funds. “Defense costs should rise to 2% of GDP.” this goal was first put forward by Shinzo Abe in 2017.

As one of the best prime ministers in Japan after the war, Shinzo Abe naturally understood the reason why he should not act too hastily. At the same time, he was also worried that this move would irritate China and South Korea. Therefore, for 18 and 19 years, he was only stirring up public opinion without real operation, which dragged him out of office.

However, as Japan’s most influential political family, Abe’s resignation is also a force that cannot be ignored. Both Yoshio Kan and Fumio Kishida regularly visit Shinzo Abe, just like a “shadow Prime Minister”. After stepping down, Abe has obviously not been idle, and has been inciting to increase defense spending. In 2021, Nihon Keizai Shimbun interviewed Japanese defense minister Nobuo kishima (he is the brother of Shinzo Abe). Kishio said that Japan’s defense spending will not be limited to the standard of 1% of gross domestic product (GDP), and Japan’s defense spending should be raised according to the standard of defending the country, rather than compared with the proportion of GDP.

By 2022, Shinzo Abe has no intention to hide his ambition. At the Abe meeting, where he served as president in May this year, he stressed: “it is very important to implement the target of 2% of GDP for defense spending to be achieved in about five years.”. Considering the position of Abe faction in the Liberal Democratic Party, it is not difficult to find out why the party agreed to increase military spending.


At present, we don’t know whether the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida intends to follow or is forced to be coerced into this vortex, but the prime minister does look like the successor of Abe.

On June 10 this year, when attending the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore, Fumio Kishida said that Japan “intends to fundamentally strengthen its defense capability within five years to ensure a considerable increase in military spending”. Later, when attending the G7 meeting in Germany, he emphasized this point in public. It can be seen that his appeal is exactly the same as Shinzo Abe.

It is worth mentioning that although the Secretary General of NATO Stoltenberg asked all NATO member states to increase their defense budgets to 2% of their gross national product, this goal has never been achieved. In 2021, only 10 of the 30 NATO member countries reached this level of expenditure. This is in sharp contrast to the attitude of the Japanese government.

Where to spend the money

It’s done, and there seems to be no room for manoeuvre in doubling Japan’s military spending. At present, Japan’s GDP is about $5trillion, and there is no problem taking out 2%. The military expenditure of the United States accounts for about 3.5% of the total GDP, and that of Russia accounts for 3.1% of the total GDP. It can be said that Japan, the third largest economic country in the world, will not miss these budgets. They are indeed likely to become the third largest military spending country in the world within five years.


As usual, we should have criticized this militaristic move of Japan and attacked Japan’s right-wing ideological trend and resurgent militarism, but this is not helpful to recognize the problem. It’s not a day or two for Japan and the United States to collude. Since Shinzo Abe’s second appearance on the stage, Japan’s China policy has gradually gone to extremes. The Diaoyu Island issue and the constitutional revision storm were all caused by the prime minister. It’s not surprising that Japan has come to this situation. How can Japan not expand its armaments when the United States has intentions at home? After all, the United States has voluntarily loosened the chain tied to Japan’s neck.

Rather than vent their emotions, it is better to calm down and analyze the development direction of the Japanese self defense force after doubling its military expenditure. After all, the military expenditure of more than $100 billion is beyond the reach of Russia. What can the self defense force do with this money?

It must be mentioned that Japan’s current military expansion depends largely on the assistance of the United States. It has lost its ability to break the wrist with China on advanced weapons, and its combat power depends on what the United States is willing to sell to it.


For a long time, some domestic media have boasted about Japan’s military power at length. Although this reminds everyone of the consideration of “imperialist will not die to kill me”, it also encourages many people to have a wrong understanding of Japan’s military power, so that now some people still hold the argument that “Japan just does not develop, and once it develops, it can form combat power” as a standard. Due to space constraints, we will not argue in detail about the mistakes of this idea here. If you are interested, you can leave a message backstage, and we will issue a single article to explain it according to the situation.

According to the current situation, the future positioning of the self defense force will not change. It will still be a force to assist the U.S. military in combat. Its weapons, equipment and combat mode are matched with the U.S. military, and it does not have the ability to fight independently. Under this framework, the projects vigorously developed by the self defense force in the future must also have a direct relationship with the United States.

The first is to speed up the upgrading of fighter aircraft. At present, the anti girder fighters of Japan Air self defense force are f-15j and f-15dj, both of which are old aircraft in long-term service. Moreover, in recent years, the number of people’s Liberation Army operations out of the waters around Japan has increased, and the number of emergency takeoffs of air vehicles has also increased year by year, which has further consumed the life of these old aircraft. It is time for air vehicles to be upgraded in large quantities anyway. There is no doubt that the primary target of air self purchase aircraft is the U.S. f-35a series fighters. A f-35a with more than 100 million dollars will be the bulk of Japan’s military purchase in the future.


The second is to upgrade and transform the cloud class helicopter destroyer, and vigorously develop the so-called “lightning aircraft carrier” that can carry the F-35B. In 2021, the first F-35B take-off and landing test of the helicopter carrier chuyun was successfully carried out. Although it was Japan that sent out the ship and the United States that sent people and aircraft, it also proved that chuyun class did have the ability to further refit. In the future, the United States is likely to continue to share military expenses with Japan in this way. For Japan, the transformation of ships and the purchase of F-35B are also a lot of expenses.


(f35b takes off and lands on the cloud)

In addition, Japan is also interested in operations in space, networks and electromagnetic waves. In March this year, Japan’s defense ministry officially established the “cosmic combat group” to administer the “cosmic combat team”, “cosmic combat command post application team” and “the second cosmic combat team”, which sound unclear and fierce. These institutions are actually responsible for space operations, mainly for satellites. In addition to these units that sound like the second best, Japan’s defense ministry has also formed forces such as “electronic warfare corps” to fight electronic warfare and cyber warfare. These high-tech troops must spend a lot of budget, which requires a large amount of funding.

In addition to these new things, maintaining its traditional advantage project – anti submarine is naturally also the top priority of the self defense force. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force purchased three P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (worth $675million), one us-2 seaplane (worth $47.8 million), and one mch-101 minesweeping / transport helicopter (worth $53 million), all of which are used to strengthen the sea’s self anti submarine force. In contrast, the transformation of the cloud class helicopter aircraft carrier costs only $53million, and the supporting four F-35B is only $440million. It can be expected that anti submarine warfare will continue to be a project vigorously invested by Haizi in the future.


But expanding the military is not so simple. The biggest problem facing the self defense forces is time. There is no problem with the implementation of the budget plan in 2023, but military expenditure belongs to government expenditure, and the government’s annual revenue is basically fixed. Doubling military expenditure means deducting financial investment in other fields, which is bound to take a long time to adjust. Abe’s idea of reaching 2% within five years is relatively reliable. However, it is a long process from the purchase of weapons and equipment to the formation of combat effectiveness, which is precisely the weakest link in Japan’s military expansion preparations.

Race Against Time

There is a restless India in the south of China. Two years ago, it was still near the border of China; In the north, there is a powder keg that explodes at one point – the Korean Peninsula; Some forces on the island of Taiwan are jumping up and down, trying to hold the U.S. leg tightly. Several major military expenditure countries are all around China, and even South Korea ranks tenth in the world. At this time, it is obviously not good news for Japan to increase its military spending by so much.

However, although this is the time when “the mountain rain is coming and the wind is blowing all over the building”, it is not necessary to feel like an enemy just because Japan increases its military spending.

On the one hand, China’s military spending is still beyond Japan’s reach. In 2022, China’s military expenditure was about US $210billion, more than four times that of Japan at present. Moreover, China’s military expenditure is increasing at a rate of nearly 7% every year to cope with inflation. Five years later, China’s military expenditure will approach us $300billion. Even if Japan achieves its goal of expanding military spending by then, China’s military spending will still be three times that of them, because Japan’s total GDP has maintained the $5trillion mark for nearly 30 years.


Moreover, judging from the current actual situation, some military related expenditures in China do not follow the national defense expenditure, which naturally does not count in the military expenditure, which leads to the underestimation of China’s actual military expenditure. For example, the budget expenditure of China’s armed police force belongs to “public security expenditure”, not “national defense expenditure”. In addition, many military related departments, such as military factories, military research institutes and those military civilian integration projects, are not completely market-oriented, but maintain a certain degree of planned economy attribute, making it difficult to measure the value of their specific contributions.

It must be mentioned that a large part of Japan’s military expenditure is the “protection fee” paid to the United States. According to the military expenditure data released by Japan, Japan’s military expenditure in 2022 was about $47billion, of which nearly $5billion was spent solely on the maintenance of U.S. bases in Japan and miscellaneous expenses of some U.S. troops in Japan. This situation cannot be improved until Japan’s military expenditure doubled. It can be said that Japan’s military spending is not a big problem, either in terms of quality or quantity.


(Fujian ship launched)

On the other hand, we also mentioned that the development time of the Japanese self defense force is probably not much. The white paper “China’s national defense in the new era” emphasizes that the current goal is to achieve the Centennial goal of building the military by 2027, basically realize the modernization of national defense and the military by 2035, and build the people’s army into a world-class army by the middle of this century.

2035 is a relatively close time node from now, and it is precisely the time point when the Japanese Self Defense Forces absorb the dividends of military spending increases. However, at that time, the gap of several orders of magnitude between the two countries’ forces has long been widened. Take the Navy for example. In 2022, the Fujian ship was launched, and its construction is expected to start in 2018. It took four years to complete the construction and catch up with the epidemic. China’s speed is evident. The Fujian warship still needs more than one year of outfitting, more than one year of sea trial, and officially commissioned after about three years. According to this speed, it is estimated that China will have at least six aircraft carriers in service by 2035, which is completely done step by step. If the situation is urgent, there will only be more.


(cloud level)

However, the self defense force’s currently refitted cloud class helicopter destroyer is expected to take one to two years to reach its initial combat power around 2024, and then how many similar platforms can it obtain at 2035? This brings us back to the above question. How much effective funds can the self defense force give to buy equipment? Moreover, the quality of the aircraft carriers of both sides is not at the same level. One is the “full blood version” and the other is the “youth version”. The combat effectiveness cannot be regarded as equal.

In a word, we don’t have much to speculate about what will happen at the time node 2035 and whether it will “finish the battle”.

At the end of the article, the author has something to say

With the tacit consent of the United States, Japan has constantly loosened its ties, and its intention to expand its military and prepare for war is not even going to be covered up. By the time we sent the document, the “four parties to amend the constitution” represented by Fumio Kishida had won a great victory in the Senate election, and will soon launch a constitutional amendment motion. This is a dangerous signal, indicating that Japan, the birthplace of World War II, is about to rearm.

There is nothing to be afraid of. Without some bone chilling, how can plum blossom smell fragrant? China’s development will inevitably attract the covet of other countries. There are those who stand still, those who reciprocate, and people like Japan who stand in the way.

What should I do? Development is the last word. When China has six aircraft carriers, Japan will not have the courage to jump.

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