Go to contents

Japan Takes Tougher Stance on NK Threat

Posted July. 03, 2003 21:57,   


Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased coinciding with North Korea`s nuclear development. Japan has now turned its focus on coping with the North`s military threat instead the potential threat from China. The Defense White Paper from the Japanese Government has indicated that North Korea`s missile development and exports of related technology is a major cause for concern in East Asia.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on July 3, the Japanese government is planning to transform its defense policy from `concentrating on defense` to `offensive capabilities`, taking the new found ballistic missiles in North Korea into consideration in this year`s Defense White Paper to be decided early next month. This is interpreted as the ability to cope with missile attacks and large-scale terrorism, particularly focusing on North Korea.

Japan has previously made defense policy decisions as a way of checking China`s military build-up but the Defense White Paper this year has focused on North Korea due to the country`s nuclear development and China`s economic progress.

The Defense White Paper indicated in relation to North Korea that the “Nodong missile has a range capable of reaching any part of Japan and can be fired off vehicles. This will make it difficult for us to be warned of any attack. Also, the exportation of missile technology has become an anxiety for the government and people of Japan.”

The document also noted that Japan “anticipates an active role for China in solving the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, and that the number of the People`s Liberation Army has decreased compared to last year.”

The Defense White Paper this year clarified that there will be modifications made to the scale and function of defensive capabilities in order to cope with military threats effectively. This means that there will be an increase in armament, and expansion in the role of the Self Defense Forces or SDF.

It also emphasized that the existence of a dictator and terrorist who disregards human rights and is expanding his capacity for weapons of mass destruction has changed the concept of war, therefore, developing a nation that copes well in times of crisis is very important.

The Asahi Daily News reported that Japan will return its Aegis warship from the Indian Ocean to strengthen precautionary measures against North Korea`s military.

There are 4 Aegis warships in Japan`s Maritime SDF. Two are under repair, one is patrolling the East Sea, and the remaining had been supporting U.S. operations to eliminate terrorism in the Indian Ocean area.

Japan`s Maritime SDF decided to recall the Aegis warship instead of exchanging it with another ship. This is because there would be a vacuum when guarding against any potential threat North Korea may pose if the current Aegis cruiser in the East Sea is sent to the Indian Ocean.

Two Aegis cruisers will therefore be on patrol in the East Sea off the coast of the Korean Peninsula unless there are any significant changes in current conditions.