BEIJING, Dec. 7 (ChinaMil) -- Japanese media reported that the Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to form a committee headed by deputy defense minister Kenji Wakamiya to discuss the introduction of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile battery and other new equipment from the US military.
The committee aims to finalize a missile defense blueprint before the summer of 2017. A source from the Japanese government also said that defense minister Tomomi Inada is scheduled to inspect the US military's cutting-edge land-based missile interception system THAAD in Guam in mid-December.
Given the worsening security situation in Northeast Asia, Japan claimed the deployment of THAAD is to deal with nuclear threats from the DPRK, but it already deployed the SM-3 and Patriot missile interception systems on its homeland, which is more than enough to fend off "nuclear missile threats from the DPRK". Why does it deploy the THAAD?
It is just an excuse to cover up Tokyo's military ambition. Declaring to introduce THAAD regardless of the consequence of worsening the regional security situation, Japan definitely has an axe to grind.
The cat's-paw to consolidate Japan-US alliance
After the election campaign started in the US, Japan pinned its hopes on the Democratic candidate Clinton Hillary, only to see the Republic candidate Trump become president-elect.
Trump put forth his agenda during the election campaign, and the first thing he did after taking office was to stop the TPP, which is a multilateral agreement initiated by the Obama administration and Japan to politically suppress and isolate China. We can imagine how embarrassed and anxious Tokyo was after Trump was elected.
More importantly, Trump declared that he will carry out strategic contraction worldwide during his term, especially in the Asia Pacific and Japan, and invest more energy and resources in domestic development.
He criticized Japan during the campaign, and made it clear that he will cut military input in the Asia Pacific and demand Japan to bear more military cost for the American troops stationed there.
For Japan, maintaining a sound alliance with the US is the foundation for it to contain China's rise, seize the dominance in East Asia and raise its international standing and military strength. Without America's firm support, Japan will soon find itself in a strategically passive state across the board.
Therefore, Japan taking the initiative to deploy the THAAD system, which announced its willingness to continue to be the cat's-paw of America's Asia Pacific strategy, is not only to show Trump its "resolve" to follow Washington, but also to bear America's military expenses in the Asia Pacific by purchasing and deploying its weapons and equipment, so as to make overtures to the new administration.
Military buildup targets China
At present, Japan has an anti-missile network comprising the Aegis system and Patriot system. As THAAD is able to intercept incoming missiles on the altitude from 20km to 150km, Japan hopes it can connect the Aegis and Patriot systems and form a three-layer anti-missile network.
This means that Japan's claim that deploying THAAD is mainly to fend off "nuclear missile threats from the DPRK" is just an excuse. Its real purpose is to establish an all-altitude and multi-layer anti-missile system to intercept China's missiles and undermine its strategic strike capability.
On the other hand, THAAD's X-band radar has a detecting range of 2,000km, with which Japan will be able to monitor China's military movements and missile activities on its southeast coast.
The ROK already decided to deploy THAAD, which will keep an eye on military activities in China's northeast and northern areas, and ROK and Japan just signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Once these two countries connect their THAAD systems and share information, most of China's key strategic areas will be monitored by them as well as the US, which will overthrow the strategic balance in Northeast Asia.
Worsening security situation to pave the way for "constitutional amendment"
As DPRK's nuclear issue is escalating and security instability in Northeast Asia is worsening, Japan insists on introducing the THAAD system despite objections from China and Russia because it has to pave the way for "constitutional amendment".
First of all, Japan is an economic power with limited political influence, and it is always under the restriction and influence of the US. To amend the peace constitution, Abe must have America's support or connivance because only the US can help it clear the way for the amendment.
Second, to break through the policy on "defense only" and lift the ban on the right to collective self-defense, Japan needs a solid public foundation. Therefore, it planned to deploy THAAD to cause China's strong objection and consequently flame up the China-Japan conflicts and Japanese people's sense of nationalism, thus achieving its ulterior motive.
Besides, only by creating a turbulent surrounding environment can Abe have the excuse to increase military budget, expand the JSDF and amend the constitution.
It's worth mentioning that the Abe administration took a series of steps, including deploying the THAAD, to enhance its military strength, stir conflicts between China and Japan and instigate rightist ideas. The ultimate goal is to pave the way for Abe to be prime minister again and eventually revive militarism in Japan and overturn the post-WWII order.
A response to Russia's missile deployment on the Northern Territories
To settle the disputes with Russia over the Northern Territories (South Kurils as called by Russia), Abe has focused on providing economic and technological aid to Russia and helping it develop the Far East in exchange for the sovereignty over the disputed islands. Abe has been using it as his political achievement and capital.
However, when Abe was preparing with high expectations for Russian President Putin's visit in mid-December, Russian Defense Ministry announced on November 22 that it had deployed the Bal-e and Bastion shore-based anti-ship missile systems on the Kunashir Island and Iturup Island of the South Kurils. This foiled Japan's attempt at "economy for territory" and broke the Abe administration's political illusion that it had worked so long and hard for.
By deploying THAAD, Japan will be able to monitor Russia's military movements in some areas of the Far East and intercept Russia's Bal-e and Bastion missiles deployed on the Northern Territories. It's obvious that Abe wants to use THAAD to counter Russia's missile deployment and express his "strong protest and dissatisfaction" against the Kremlin.
Written by Dai Jinsi, Qiao Quandi from the Center for International Studies at the National University of Defence Technology