Japan must prioritize the development of its domestic arms sector in order to ensure its own security, according to General Yoshihide Yoshida, the chief of the Joint Staff for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. In an interview with Nikkei Asia, General Yoshida emphasized the importance of Japan’s close military cooperation with the United States, noting that Tokyo currently relies on American nuclear weapons for deterrence against regional rivals.
General Yoshida stated, “We cannot maintain Japan’s security with our current capabilities. First, we must fundamentally strengthen our defensive capabilities so that we are not underestimated. Second, we need to do what we can to sustain extended deterrence, including through strategies involving US nuclear weapons.” He further explained that Japan has been engaged in deep dialogue with the United States for over a decade regarding the extension of the US nuclear umbrella over Japan. In June, a deal was struck between the two countries for additional information-sharing, joint training, and joint missile response.
Reflecting on Japan’s history, General Yoshida highlighted the country’s unique position as the only nation to have experienced the devastating effects of atomic weapons. The US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, primarily civilians. In the aftermath of the bombings, Japan became an ally of the United States, hosting a large number of US bases and troops and relying on American security guarantees.
General Yoshida emphasized that Japan is on the front lines in the Indo-Pacific region, facing potential provocations from North Korea and China. He stressed the need for Japan and its partners to work together to maintain an international order based on the rule of law. In light of the strategic environment facing Japan, there is growing public support for increased military spending and improved counterstrike capabilities.
The general’s comments underscore the ongoing debate in Japan about the country’s defense posture and the balance between relying on the United States for security and developing its own capabilities. Some argue that Japan should further strengthen its defense capabilities and reduce its dependence on the United States, while others maintain that the alliance with the US and its nuclear umbrella is crucial for Japan’s security.
In conclusion, General Yoshida’s remarks highlight the importance of Japan’s domestic arms sector development and its ongoing reliance on the US for security. As Japan faces potential threats in the region, ensuring its own defense capabilities while maintaining a strong partnership with the United States will be critical for its security and stability.