Japan's New Military Buildup Seen as Response to North Korea, China

National Journal

Japan plans to acquire more-capable weapons and establish a marine force because of the perceived security threat posed by North Korea and China, the Korea Herald reported.

After decades of hewing to a strictly self-defensive military posture, Japan in recent months has indicated it plans to acquire offensive military capabilities such as ballistic missiles that could be used to carry out advance attacks on North Korea's strategic assets.

Some of Japan's space-program activities have applications in the development of strategic weapons. On Tuesday, the island nation is slated to fire its solid-fueled Epsilon rocket, which could potentially be adapted to power an ICBM.

These armament plans have raised regional concerns that Tokyo may be shedding its post-World War II pacifist defense posture.

"What is worrisomely ... is that Japan's rearmament would be met with China's reaction, which could cause regional instability," Korea National Defense University Japan researcher Park Young-june said.

The United States, however, is seen as supportive of Japan taking on a more assertive regional role, as it could be useful in meeting the challenge of China's growing military might.

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