Should Japan adopt a preemptive-strike defense strategy?
Amidst rising military tension in the South China Sea many countries are fortifying their military spending in the face of a more assertive China and a more erratic United States. Japan has voiced interest in considering pre-emptive military capabilities, following the cancelation of purchase of an American missile defense system in June 2020, as well as committing to an eighth annual rise to their military budget, set to expand to $48 billion (¥5 trillion) and include the purchase of US F35 stealth bombers. This is especially significant considering Japan’s history and pacifist constitution, in which article 9 specifically states that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes”. With the current climate and the constitution in mind, should Japan pursue pre-emptive military strike capabilities?
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With an increasingly aggressive, and let us not understate nuclear-armed, China ratcheting up border dispute/tensions with Taiwan and India recently, and the homicidal North Korean regime as some of the country’s nearest neighbours it is understandable for Japan to consider such options, regardless of constitutional limitations. Constitutions are not written in stone and must evolve and adapt to new circumstances, and with numerous allegations from President Donald Trump that Japan freeloads off of the US for security, combined with growing strategic struggles in the region, times are definitely changing. Japan should do more to bolster its defence, and pre-emptive striking capabilities would be a massive deterrent for any country seeking to escalate tensions, but this would also enable Japan to maintain their security without having to rely on tentative relations with another country.