Why Japan Has A Rising Military & Defense Budget: a photo essay

Mr. Shu Watanabe, Senior Vice Minister of Defense visited the August 2012 drill in Shizuoka

Newly appointed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his plan to raise spending on Japan’s defense earlier in January amid an increasingly aggressive territorial dispute with China and Korea over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and the Takeshima/Dokdo islands. The right-wing Abe is known, controversially, as the second Japanese PM after Jun’ichiro Koizumi for visiting the Yasukuni shrine, where war criminals are enshrined.

Shinzo Abe gave a speech inside a white tent at  the cotroversial Yasukuni shrine on August 15th, 2012, to commemorate the last day of the Pacific War.

(August 15, 2012) Shinzo Abe gave a speech inside a white tent at the cotroversial Yasukuni shrine to commemorate the last day of the Pacific War, before he was re-elected prime minister in December 2012

Amid diplomatic tensions between China and Korea, Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) held its largest national ground exercise last summer in Shizuoka against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Tanks, armored vehicles and various aircrafts participated using about 44 tons of ammunition.

JSRC presents a photo essay of its coverage of the Japan Self Defense Force military drill in August 2012.

XXX ground force in action

Ground Self Defense Force in action to launch a rocket on a target in the direction of Mount Fuji, (August 2012)

On January 11th, PM Abe announced a 10.3 trillion yen ($116 billion) economic stimulus package and pledged to reverse a decade of defense budget cuts, a gesture which is a clear sign that Abe will not back down against the increasingly aggressive Chinese claim to the disputed Senkaku islands. Japan has a pacifist constitution and an informal spending limit of one percent of gross domestic product, in contrast to China’s annual double digits increases in it military budget, according to Bloomberg news.

Mount Fuji in Shizuoka XXX

Mount Fuji in Shizuoka in mid-summer without snow on top (SDF military drill in August 2012)

 

The Japanese Defense Ministry requested 212 billion yen, as the budget for the fiscal year starting in April, an increase of about 2.6 percent, the first increase in 11 years. As part of PM Abe’s stimulus, the money would purchase additional PAC-3 missile interceptor and upgrades for F-15 fighter planes, a destroyer and a submarine. The budget for this year is 4.6 trillion yen.

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Japan Self Defense Air Force helicopter pilot demonstrates his skills

Japan’s Constitution, written by the US, restricts the activities of its armed forces and relies on its alliance with the US. Abe said he wants to “strengthen this relationship to bolster Japan’s position toward China”, Bloomberg News reported.

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JSDF helicopter  soldiers descending to the ground

 

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

“It will take good diplomatic work to strike a balance between taking necessary military measures and not offending or undermining our relationship with China,” said Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, in Tokyo.

Lifting ground soldiers

Helicopter lifting ground soldiers at 2012 SDF military drill in Shizuoka

Lifting ground soldiers on helicopter, Japan Self Defense annual drill in Shizuoka, August 2012

Lifting ground soldiers on helicopter, Japan Self Defense annual drill in Shizuoka, August 2012

Lifting ground soldiers on helicopter, Japan Self Defense annual drill in Shizuoka, August 2012

Lifting ground soldiers on helicopter, Japan Self Defense annual drill in Shizuoka, August 2012

The Facts

On August 15th 2012, fourteen activists from Hong Kong were arrested after landing on one of the disputed and uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, in the East China Sea.

In response to this action, ten Japanese nationalists swam ashore through shark infested waters to land on the same island to plant the hinomaru flag on August 19th, 2012.

Targeting human target on ground fight

Targeting human targets during a  ground fight at the SDF 2012 military drill in Shizuoka

One day before the memorial of war dead deified in the controversial Yasukuni shrine and de facto Korea’s Liberation Day from 1910-1945 colonial rule, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak demanded an official apology from Japan’s Emperor Akihito about the harm Japan has caused to Koreans during Japan’s imperialist expansion.

 

A soldier on the ground targeting XXX

A soldier on the ground visualizing a target, at JSDF military drill, August 2012 (Shizuoka)

 

The Japanese government proposed to take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), but Korea refused.

According to Voice of America, Assistant Press Secretary, Masaru Sato said at a Foreign Ministry’s press briefing that historical documents confirm that Japan established its sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century, before incorporating it into one of its prefectures in 1905. He said that the United States has acknowledged the territory is an integral part of Japan by denying a South Korean attempt to claim it after WWII.

At a press conference, the United States taking “no position” in territorial dispute over the Takeshima and the Senkaku islands, has urged Japan, South Korea and China to resolve the issues in peaceful manners. According to some analysts, the US State Department spokeswoman did not want to mention international law to avoid suggesting that the US supports Japan’s proposal to take the issue to La Hague.

Helicopter XXX

Helicopter flight at Shizuoka August 2012 JSDF military drill

However, the Japanese Director General of Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs, reminded that Japan and the US have both agreed that international disputes should be settled peacefully under international law.

China’s government owned news agency, Xinhua, reported that the territorial dispute is having a grave impact on the Japan-South Korea relationship, and a diplomatic source in Beijing said that China and S-Korea have some “shared values, both having suffered at the hands of Japanese aggression,” the Yomiuri Shinbun reported.

 

Tank XXX

Tanks at the 2012 Shizuoka JSDF military drill

 

Japanese government officials said in August 2012 that prime minister in office, Yoshihiko Noda plans to send a personal letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao to express Japan’s wish to ameliorate bilateral tensions over the territorial dispute. However, yesterday afternoon, a vehicle carrying the Japanese ambassador in Beijing was assaulted. Also, French radio (Radio France International) reported a growing anti-Japanese movement in different big cities in China. According to RFI, these Chinese nationalists’ movement “embarrasses the Chinese authorities.”

Island invasion scenario XXX simulation

Simulation of island invasion scenario at 2012 JSDF military drill in Shizuoka

Xinhua news agency reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that, “Daioyu islands were part of (Japan’s) territory,” whereas “the Meiji government integrated them into Japan in 1895 without the signs of rule by the Qing Dynasty of China at that time.”

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Landing ground soldiers exercise at military drill in Shizuoka, August 2012

 

Xinhua also reported that a Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said that “the earliest historical record of Diaoyu islands can be dated back to China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),” and that “Japan claimed its sovereign requirement during the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and seized the islands with illegal means.”

Transporting vehicle by helicopter XXX

Transporting vehicle by helicopter, exercise performed at the Shizuoka 2012 JSDF military drill

 

air force can fly at very low levels, when they approached the site, we didn't hear them arriving.

Japan air force can fly at very low levels, when they approached the site, we didn’t hear them arriving through the mountains

 

The JSRC photographer couldn't help herself picking up a photo of a cute officer

The JSRC photographer couldn’t help herself picking up a photo of a cute officer, at the 2012 Shizuoka JSDF military drill

 

Young recruits listening to instructions, a recruit can start his or her carrier at age 15.

Young recruits listening to instructions. A recruit can start his or her carrier at age 15. At the 2012 Shizuoka JSDF military drill

 

Young recruits XXX

Young recruits getting ready to leave the drill. (Shizuoka, 2012)

 

A missile XXX (?)

A tank exposed to the public after the Shizuoka 2012 JSDF military drill

The Shizuoka 2012 military drill was explosive

The Shizuoka 2012 military drill was explosive

 

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

 

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

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Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

 

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

Shizuoka SDF military drill in August 2012

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A visitor examining the XXX

A visitor examining an armed military vehicle at the 2012 Shizuoka SDF drill

Angry missile toys for children

Angry missile toys for children, sold at the JSDF military drill in Shizuoka, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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