Japan Building Aircraft Carriers: 7 December 1941; Japan launches airstrikes on Pearl Harbor, US Pacific military base.
Six aircraft carrier class warships were used to attack the base, which is 4,000 miles from mainland Japan. The war between the two countries started with this attack. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the occupying US forces tactfully occupied Japan. In the constitutional monarchy, the throne of the Japanese emperor was left intact and the rule of Japan was handed over to the democratic government. The Japanese government, formed under the auspices of the United States, drafted a new constitution in 1947.
One of the famous articles of this constitution is ‘Article 9’. Under this clause, Japan will not be able to stockpile military or long-range weapons (aircraft carriers, long-range bombers, nuclear ballistic missiles) that will ever be able to go abroad in the future.
With the demise of the military, the US military took over the defense of Japan. At that time, Japan had no force of its own except the light-armed police force engaged in internal security. But during the Korean War of 1950, when the US occupation forces went to fight in Korea from Japan, the country became completely defenseless. The United States signed a permanent defense agreement with Japan in 1951 when Japan objected. Under the agreement, US troops would be allowed to stay in Japan indefinitely.
At the same time, the United States will come forward to prevent an attack on Japan – the agreement was signed. According to the agreement, in 1952, a modern force of 1.11 lakh members called ‘National Police Reserve’ was formed. Later, there was a need to create naval and air branches of the said police force and to increase the size of the main force. In 1954, the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Japan were formed in accordance with Article 165 of the previous agreement.
According to the constitution and the US agreement, this force will be used only for national defense. For this reason, the Japanese military under the command of the Prime Minister is called Japan Self-Defense Forces (自衛隊 -Jieitai) or JSDF for short.
The three branches of the Japan Self-Defense Force are Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force). This means that the only task of the forces is to ensure the sovereignty of Japan. But in no way can Japanese troops go to war on foreign soil – a restriction to the effect that Article 9 of the country’s constitution.
Japan’s military capabilities (Japan Building Aircraft Carriers)
Shortly after World War II, the Japanese rushed to rebuild the war-torn country. Today, hardworking people live in one of the most developed countries in the world. The military has also been affected by the overall development of the country. According to the Global Military Rankings, Japan’s Self-Defense Force is currently the 5th strongest military force in the world out of 140 countries.
As of 2021, Japan has 2,48,156 active military personnel and a reserve of 56,000 troops for emergencies. The country’s military budget is 50.3 billion dollars a year, which is almost 12 times the military budget of Bangladesh! Japan spends 1% of its GDP on the military. Since this article focuses on the Japanese navy, it goes without saying about the strength of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Japan currently owns the world’s fourth strongest navy. They operated a total of 155 warships, large and small. Notable among these are 26 Destroyers, 10 Frigates, 6 Corvettes, 22 Attack Submarines, 30 Minesweeper Ships, and 4 Helicopter Carriers.
Amendment of the Constitution
In 2001, the first Japanese special forces were given constitutional permission to conduct counter-terrorism operations outside the country if necessary, in the fight against 21st-century international terrorism. Subsequently, in 2007, under Section 3 Section 2 of the Self-Defense Act, the Japanese Navy was given the authority to use force if necessary to combat piracy in international waters. In addition to UN peacekeeping missions, Japan has begun participating in regular exercises with China and North Korea’s opponents, including the United States, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, India, and Taiwan.
The country built a military base in Djibouti, an East African country, in 2010, the first Japanese military base to be built on foreign soil since World War II. In 2015, the government of then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made major changes to the country’s constitution. For the first time under the Japan Military Legalization Act, the country’s military is allowed to fight on “special needs” on foreign soil.
This means that if there is an enemy attack or threat to Japan or its allies that could jeopardize the security of Japan’s mainland in the near future, Japanese troops will be able to fight on foreign soil, subject to parliamentary approval. The war will be seen as a defense of mainland of Japan. In addition, if Japanese forces are attacked by foreign forces due to the supply of military supplies to the Allies in times of peace and war, troops can be sent abroad if necessary to counter them.
So only the reader can understand that the Japanese, who have become peace-loving after the Second World War, is actually preparing for the coming war. Japan already has conflicts with China and North Korea over control of several Pacific islands and waters. In addition to the recent surge in their reserves, there have been disputes with South Korea and Russia. Recently, the Sino-Russian air force entered Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and conducted joint air drills, which indirectly signaled the denial of a country’s sovereignty and incited war.
Let the reader know a wonderful piece of information. Towards the end of World War II, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and occupied Manchuria. The war ended when Japan surrendered to the United States. But no ceasefire agreement was reached between the two sides on paper. As a result, Russia’s war with Japan would be an extension of World War II.
China has the biggest dispute with Japan. The military power of this Asian superpower is a big threat to Japan. China was Japan’s worst victim of World War II. In addition to the old animosity, disputes between the two countries over control of several disputed islands and their territorial waters in the East China Sea continue to grow. In addition, due to the lasting friendship with the United States of America, there is a great risk of war between Japan and some anti-American countries. Japan’s dangerous duty would be to help close allies in disputes with North Korea, Russia, or China.
In 2018, Japan formed the ‘Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade’ with experienced soldiers aged 26-32. It was, in fact, a Marine branch of the military that re-emerged for the first time since World War II. Forces that are trained to fight in foreign lands by air or sea are called Marines. The only countries that have adopted an offensive military strategy maintain a separate force called the Marine Force. Japan is following the same path by relaxing its constitutional restrictions. However, Japan’s attitude towards this force is still defensive.
The brigade’s troops are being trained on how to recapture the disputed islands, including Senkaku Island if they fall into enemy hands. Besides, there are regular exercises with foreign troops. China has called the largest-ever exercise involving 57,000 troops with the United States in 2018 “provocative.”
The first aircraft carrier
The country has signed a UN treaty on the use of nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. As a result, Japan does not use nuclear energy for military purposes except for power plants. Under the constitution, the country pledged not to stockpile long-range offensive weapons. As a result, there are no long-range bombers in the Japanese Air Force. Of the total 740 aircraft of the Japan Air Self Defense Force, 330 are combat aircraft. Most of these fighter jets are primarily skilled in aerial warfare, which is a manifestation of the country’s defensive strategy.
China has adopted a fancy strategy to damage this powerful air force. In 2020 alone, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force conducted a scramble mission to prevent Chinese aircraft from attempting to enter Japanese airspace a record number (947) times. As a result, a significant number of Japan’s main F-15 fighter jets have been sent to maintenance facilities this year. Japan is now forced to send fighter jets to intercept all Chinese aircraft entering ADIZ.
Japan does not currently have long-range ballistic missiles. However, there are four aircraft carriers. Although these are less capable than the 20 aircraft carriers of World War II Japan in terms of aircraft carrying capacity, the ships are strategically special weapons of the Japanese navy. Japan currently has two aircraft carriers in the 27,000-ton Izumu class and two 19,000 ton Hyūga class aircraft carriers. Officially referred to as helicopter carrier. Japan uses these ships mainly in anti-submarine roles. For this purpose, at least seven helicopters equipped with submarine-destroying weapons were used on each ship. The ships were built by Japan to deal with China’s powerful submarine fleet.
The 646-foot Hyūga class helicopter carriers are Japan’s first aircraft carriers. However, they only carry anti-submarine and troop transport and attack helicopters (18 in total). The ships have strong air defense systems. The 814-foot-long Izumu class ship, on the other hand, is Japan’s largest warship built after World War II. It can carry a maximum of 28 aircraft and 400 Marines. It can also carry tanks, trucks, and other necessary military vehicles. It has the facility to take off and land five helicopters simultaneously.
However, Japan has upgraded two I 1.5 billion Izumu class ships to light aircraft carriers at an additional cost of 30 million. That’s why they ordered 42 F-35B Lighting II fighter jets from the United States. These sophisticated 5th generation stealth warplanes are capable of evading radar. In October of this year, the US Marines’ F-35B fighter jet test-fired at Izumu, tested the ship’s capabilities and came under renewed discussion. A special feature of this aircraft is that it can take off from a small space and land as straight as a helicopter!
This means that once the F-35B fighter jets are delivered, the Japanese navy will be able to conduct offensive operations far away from the mainland. In short, although the Japan Self-Defense Force has the legitimacy to fight on foreign soil, it has no constitutional legitimacy to maintain an aircraft carrier carrying conventional warplanes. As a result, there are widespread questions among military analysts inside and outside the country. Many of them say that as a result of this decision of Japan, Article 9 of the Constitution has completely lost its significance.
In addition, the recent use of Japanese-made weapons has given a hint of war readiness. Three hundred km for coastal settlement. Range land-based anti-ship missile battery, one thousand km. Range supersonic glide bombs, ballistic missile defense systems, and Japanese ‘Aegis’ destroyers are capable of operating in tandem with US warships.
All in all, the capabilities of Japan’s three armies are increasing exponentially in line with the epoch, which is quite normal for a country. But the way the Japanese government is shifting its military from defensive doctrine to offensive overnight is a major threat to peace in the Pacific. Analysts fear that today’s peace-loving Japan may ignite the gunpowder of World War III in order to maintain the balance of friendship with close allies in any conflict. That is our expectation.
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