The Japanese government passed the draft government budget for fiscal year 2021 at the cabinet meeting on the 21st, in which defense spending increased for the ninth consecutive year to a record 5.34 trillion yen ($51.6 billion).
The most notable of the defense budget is the construction of two Aegis ships as land-based Aegis missile defense system alternatives and cruise missile improvement plans.
Japanese media pointed out that there are many disadvantages of the land-based “Aegis” alternative, and the plan to develop longer-range cruise missiles is contrary to Japan’s post-war peace constitution and the principle of “monopoly defending”, or increases regional instability.
“Aegis” has many problems from land to sea.
In December 2017, the Japanese government decided to introduce two land-based Aegis missile defense systems from the United States, deployed in Akita Prefecture in the northeast and Yamaguchi Prefecture in the west, respectively, to achieve so-called “all-weather and uninterrupted” protection against the whole territory of Japan, but the plan was strongly opposed by the local residents.
In June this year, then Defense Minister Taro Kono announced that he would abandon the plan, one of the reasons why the booster may fall into nearby residential areas after the launch of the anti-missile interceptor.
On the 9th of this month, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi announced that two new Aegis ships would be built as the final alternative to the land-based Aegis system. However, the new plan was criticized by the Japanese media as soon as it was released.
First of all, “all-weather” standby is difficult to achieve. The ability of the ship to carry out its tasks is closely related to the weather. In addition, the ship itself needs to be prepared and maintained, and the self-defense forces need to be trained.
Therefore, the maximum number of days a ship actually performs defense tasks in a year is about 120 days.
Secondly, it costs a lot. The draft budget adopted on the 21st listed a research cost of 1.7 billion yen (about 16.4 million US dollars) for this alternative. According to third-party estimates, the total cost of building two new Aegis ships is about 480 billion yen to 500 billion yen (about 4.64 billion to 4.83 billion US dollars), which is higher than the land-based Aegis program.
This does not include the missile interception test, daily maintenance and carrying equipment of the two ships. Cost. These two ships may become “the most expensive maritime equipment in the history of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces”.
Third, the Maritime Self-Defense Force is seriously understaffed. Tokuhiro Ikeda, who was the commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s escort fleet, said that the two new Aegis ships would require at least 500 to 600 people to operate, and the Maritime Self-Defense Force had not been able to recruit in full for five consecutive years.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency commented that the deployment of land-based “Aegis” system was originally intended to reduce the missile defense burden of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, but now the new “Aegis” ship has increased the burden.
Self-developed missile deviates from “special defense”
The Japanese government also recently announced that it will be committed to developing cruise missiles that can launch attacks from outside the range of enemy missiles.
The draft budget adopted on the 21st contains 33.5 billion yen (about 324 million US dollars) for the surface-to-ship cruise missile improvement plan, with the goal of extending the range of the missile.
Limited by Japan’s post-war peace constitution and the principle of “excise defense”, the missiles used by the Japan Self-Defense Force have always had a range of less than 200 kilometers.
Under Shinzo Abe’s government, the Ministry of Defense of Japan planned to purchase JASSM, LRASM, JSM and other long-range cruise missiles from the United States and Norway, with a maximum range of 900 kilometers.
However, Japan’s existing F-15 fighters need to be modified before they can carry these imported missiles.
In the draft budget adopted on the 21st, the cost of 21.3 billion yen (about $206 million) needed to modify these fighters was cancelled due to excessive costs. This may mean that Japan has shifted its focus from imports to self-development.
Some members of the Japanese opposition party and experts criticized that although the Ministry of Defense emphasized that self-developed missiles were not intended for “attacking enemy bases”, their extended range may have the ability to attack enemy bases, which is contrary to Japan’s post-war peace constitution and the principle of “defense-keeping”.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun published an editorial saying that it is difficult not to make people feel that the decision to extend the range of the missile in the name of “outlying island defense” is a layout with the ability to “attack enemy bases” in the future.
The article said that in recent years, the Self-Defense Forces have been singing the principle of “defense” while introducing military equipment aimed at overheading the principle.
This method of constantly strengthening self-ability in vague intentions inevitably increases regional instability and even triggers a regional arms race.