By Nicolás Promanzio
After years of Chinese military pressure on southern Japan, the Japanese government will double the defense budget and allow the United States to deploy a new Marine mobile unit on the militarized island of Okinawa.
In a highly complex regional context and concern over China’s military buildups, North Korea’s missile tests, and the geopolitical dispute of the Pacific, Japan has established itself as a US ally in that region and is beginning to take serious measures for its national security.
Last December, the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, announced his intention to double defense spending from 1% to 2% of GDP, which would mean raising funds for the Self-Defense Forces to more than US$300 billion.
This Japanese investment in Defense is equivalent to approximately 75% of Argentina’s GDP.
According to Japanese military experts, China’s air and sea military capability is about 70% of that of the United States.
As US forces are deployed worldwide in East Asia, the balance tilts in favor of China in a ratio of 7 to 5, so Japan seeks to complement the United States with the remaining 2.
The alignment of Japan’s interests in the Pacific with those of the United States is revealed in both countries’ strong and current alliance against their common enemies.
In this scenario, Japan’s high geopolitical importance comes into play.
Focusing on southern Japan, the militarized island of Okinawa is crucial in China’s containment in the region.
On this island, the United States announced the deployment of a new mobile unit of the Marines at the beginning of the year.
“The United States will deploy a new Marine Mobile Unit to the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to better respond to growing Chinese-led threats,” said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
China maintains many agents operating on Okinawa, promoting nationalist ideas and seeking to drive a wedge between its Japanese and American allies.
In Japan, there is concern that a possible Chinese offensive and landing in Taiwan also involves the occupation by the Chinese armed forces of the Senkaku Islands, located in the southwestern tip of Japan and disputed with China and Taiwan.
In this case, the US position is clear.
The US Secretary of Defense reaffirmed on Thursday, Jan. 12, that Article 5 of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands.
This article commits the United States to defend Japan if it is attacked by a third party, thus legally and politically involving the US armed forces to intervene in the possible armed conflict.
That same week, a summit was held in Washington between Joe Biden and Fumio Kishida, the presidents of the United States and Japan.
In the joint communiqué, they opposed any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, as they also agreed to strengthen their individual and collective potential.
According to the statement on Friday, Jan. 13, the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions now “face inc”easing challenges, from China’s aChina’sinconsistent with the principles of the rules-based international order to North Korea’s pKorea’sions.”
With in”ormation from La Derecha Diario