Militarization of Tokyo and strengthening of its military ties with NATO are part of the American plan to fight for Taiwan.
Recently there has been an increasing pro-American bias in Japanese military policy and a decline in independent critical perception of reality. In early 2023, the budget of the country’s self-defense forces, with strong moral and political support from the United States, was increased by 26 percent, and total defense spending reached $56 billion. According to the current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in the next five years under the new military program “to increase the defense capabilities of Japan,” approved in December 2022, the total military budget of the country will be 320 billion dollars. According to the government’s plan, it will not fall below 2 percent of the country’s GDP. Japan would then become the third largest military spending country after the U.S. and China.
Following Tokyo’s accession to QUAD, Japan fundamentally intensified contacts with NATO. In 2022, the Japanese prime minister attended the bloc’s summit for the first time in history, and an official Japanese office to the alliance was opened in Brussels. Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said at the April 3-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers that European security and Indo-Pacific security can no longer be discussed separately, and that today’s complex and harsh international security environment requires like-minded partners to step up cooperation.
He also added that Japan and NATO are currently developing a Special Individual Partnership Program, through which Japan intends to significantly strengthen its cooperation with NATO. In particular, in addition to traditional areas of interaction, joint work will begin in the areas of cybersecurity and outer space. Tokyo and NATO will also begin to cooperate on information content, disinformation and the development of advanced technologies. Assessing contacts with the alliance, the minister said that relations between Japan and NATO have already proven their importance and that the parties have made great progress in a number of areas. As an example, Hayashi cited the dispatch of Japanese Self-Defense Forces aircraft to participate in the NATO-led relief operation in Turkey, which was hit by an earthquake.
At the same time, Japan continues to increase its military presence in the waters bordering China. The new president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has resumed joint naval and air exercises with Tokyo in 2022. Formally under the program of coordination of disaster response efforts between the military and rescue services of different countries. De facto, this program is a cover for the deployment of military contingents in the Philippines by the U.S. and its allies in Japan, and possibly a number of other states. Experts believe that Tokyo and Manila may now be working on an agreement regulating the presence of Japanese troops in the archipelago, similar to the one the U.S. and the Philippines have.
Japanese government approves $5 billion “Official Security Assistance” program. Among the first recipients of military-technical assistance from Tokyo will be the Philippines, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Increased militarization of Japan, increasing cooperation with Western blocs and strengthening military ties with its closest neighbors are explained by experts as the Americans preparing Japan to fight China for Taiwan. Leading LDPJ politicians, long the dominant political force in the country, are already openly saying that if China invades the island, they will not stand aside and will take part in combat operations on Taipei and Washington’s side. However, they are modestly silent about the fact that such a development would mean the deployment of a large-scale armed conflict in the region, threatening to go beyond the APAC.