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Author`s name Ольга Савка

USA compels defense concept changes from Japan

According to the new program, China and North Korea pose a threat to the national security of Japan

Japan's defense complex is to undergo considerable changes in the near future. It will stop being as pacifist as it was before. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government insists on the changes, even if certain amendments to the Japanese Constitution become necessary for it.

Japan is lifting a military export ban: it will be now possible for Japan to export missile components built in cooperation with the USA. The decision, however, does not mean that Japanese technologies will be available for everyone, who can afford acquiring them. One may trace Washington's interest here: the level of the Japanese technical development enjoys global recognition, and the USA will probably hand over a part of the ABM system costs to its Far-Eastern ally. Needless to say that the ABM system will be described as ‘joint.’

Directions of the new national defense program stipulate a more active use of the army in international operations. The troops will be made more compact and mobile. It is noteworthy that Japan has its contingent in Iraq now. Koizumi's government has to overcome strong resistance and pass a special law before sending the Japanese soldiers to the Middle East. The government had to make concessions to the public opinion: military men of the self-defense force would not partake in military operations. Furthermore, the Japanese contingent command had to bribe Iraqi sheikhs to guarantee soldiers' security. That was not something that the US administration was pursuing.

It was also said that the defense spending would be cut by five percent during the forthcoming five years (the above-mentioned program embraces the period up to 2009). In addition, the number of Japanese military men in the self-defense force will be cut from the current 155,000 to 150,000. The Japanese army will become mobile and compact; its up-to-date arms will make it suitable for military operations in any part of the planet.

The program's most interesting paragraph, though, is about China and North Korea. According to the document, China and North Korea pose a threat to the national security of Japan. The Japanese army will be appropriately redeployed to be able to watch their actions carefully. The recent incident with the Chinese submarine, which found itself in the Japanese territorial waters, turned out to be good to Koizumi's government, taking into consideration its efforts to revise the defense concept. As for North Korea, Japan has never concealed its concern about N.Koreans' missiles capable of reaching the Japanese territory.

The USA actively participates in changing the defense concept of Japan. It is worth mentioning that the US has already exerted pressure on Japan before, when it made it approve the peace-loving constitution. The current situation is different, though. The US administration needs a more bellicose ally in the Far East: it is above the USA's strength to stand alone against the Chinese ambition.

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