Golez: Why Japan's military rise? Newton's Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in physics. This is true in geopolitics.
Japan, and other countries like India and even the US, are simply reacting to the over aggressiveness and arms build up of China, corresponding with China's economic rise during the past ten years. China did not rise as a benign power the way Germany and Japan did when they recovered after the second world war. Germany and Japan recovered and rose to become the world's top economic powers next only to the US, but their rise was not marked by an inordinate arms build-up unlike what the world is now witnessing in the case of China whose economic and military rise is marked by territorial aggressiveness in both the South China Sea and East China Sea. And of late, we are seeing China's geo-strategic initiatives in the Indian Ocean that India now finds very alarming triggering India's arms build-up.
President Clinton, and earlier Nixon, sought China's economic engagement with the rest of the world, in the hope that an economically strong China would be good for world trade and economic development and would make China a benign and less aggressive power leading towards democratization.
But this did not happen. China rose but it has not undergone a democratic spring; the opposite has in fact happened with the entrenchment of the Chinese Communist Party in controlling both the economy and the military.
I quote from the article:
"Another portentous move under Abe includes his continued insistence — and it must be said, relative success — in boosting the defense budget.
"In 2017, the budget sits at 5.13 trillion Yen, which is approximately US$43.6 — this is a marked increase from US$5.5 trillion in 2016, and US$4.98 trillion in 2015. The Japanese Ministry of Defense's shopping list for this budget includes amphibious assault vehicles made by BAE Systems, anti-submarine warfare helicopters, Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft, Global Hawk drones, and tanker aircraft, among other things.
"Taking a cursory look over the defense budget, you'll notice there's much attention paid to amphibious hardware. In fact, Japan is in the process of setting up an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade to be ready at some point this year.
"The budget also includes a section conspicuously titled "Respond to Attacks on Remote Islands." Additionally, the US Marine Corps holds a number of annual military training drills with the increasingly nominal Japanese Self-Defense Forces. This includes the annual "Iron First" drill, which is described as an "annual bilateral amphibious training exercise."
"Commentators suggest that the emphasis on amphibious capabilities is born of a concern that one day Japan might have to brawl with China on the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu islands."