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2013年5月19日 (日)

敵基地攻撃能力 日米連携前提に保有の検討を

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 19, 2013
The time has come to consider enabling SDF to attack enemy bases
敵基地攻撃能力 日米連携前提に保有の検討を(5月18日付・読売社説)

It is essential to reexamine the division of roles between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, in order to boost the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

The Liberal Democratic Party has put together a report containing proposals related to the new National Defense Program Guidelines to be compiled by the government in December.

Regarding whether the SDF should have the capability to attack enemy bases, including missile bases, the report clearly states that it is advisable “to launch a study and swiftly reach a conclusion on the matter.” This statement apparently takes into consideration North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

Given the improvement in North Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities, it cannot be denied that deterrence through missile defense has its limits. It would be difficult to intercept all missiles at a time of multiple simultaneous attacks.

Acting as shield and pike

Japan and the United States have long maintained a system in which the SDF serves as a “shield,” engaging only in defense, while the U.S. military serves as a “pike,” entirely responsible for retaliatory attacks.

If the SDF had the capability to attack enemy bases to supplement the U.S. military’s offensive power, it would buttress the bilateral defense system.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, shows a keen interest in propping up the bilateral defense system. During a Diet interpellation early this month, Abe raised the question of “whether it’s all right for Japan to continue to ask the U.S. military to attack” in the case of an imminent missile strike on this country.

It is important to study in concrete terms what equipment the SDF should introduce.

One option would be adoption of a cruise missile system in which the exact locations of attack targets are inputted to guide missiles under the global positioning system. The other would be striking an enemy missile base with F-35 and other state-of-the art fighter jets equipped with stealth capabilities.

It is difficult for the cruise missile system to strike Rodong and other missiles launched from mobile launching pads. If F-35s are introduced, it would be necessary to form a large air force unit to help F-35s enter enemy airspace.

Defense of remote islands

In either case, it would be unrealistic for Japan to attack singlehandedly. The two countries would have to closely cooperate in such fields as information-gathering and analyzing operations to detect attack targets, as well as have an adequate division of roles.

To defend Japan’s remote southwest islands, the LDP report calls for giving the Ground Self-Defense Force functions similar to those of the U.S. Marine Corps and establishing amphibious units.

Given that the Chinese military has been escalating its threatening activities around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, the need to reinforce the defense of remote islands has increased. The GSDF is proceeding with a plan to have U.S. marine-like functions while conducting joint exercises with U.S. marines. The new defense guidelines must accelerate such a move, including in terms of equipment.

It is also a good idea to study introducing the new Osprey transport aircraft to the SDF.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 18, 2013)
(2013年5月18日01時17分  読売新聞)


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