Surface Forces: December 19, 2002


The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis-equipped destroyer Kirishima left Yokosuka on 16 December, to join the US-led anti-terrorism campaign in the Indian Ocean. Japan's warship can link up with the advanced US defense data network to share gathered intelligence. The destroyer, with a crew of about 250, is scheduled to arrive in the Indian Ocean in about three weeks and replace one of three Japanese naval vessels currently deployed in the area. Japan's Self-Defense Force has the world's third largest military budget and is armed with state-of-the-art weapons, including four 7,250-ton Aegis destroyers. Another is on order and funds have been required for one more. 

The Japanese government has no desire to rerun its diplomatic humiliation during the 1991 Gulf War, when it failed to send even token troops. In 2001, a law was passed enabling the country to deploy naval ships to support the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan -- its first military dispatch into a war situation since World War Two. This development has encouraged Chinese and opposition parties in Japan speculation that the government is using its military to assume a higher international profile. With Japanese nationalism on the rise, it might be natural for some Japanese to call on the armed forces to play a more active role in its foreign policy. If it makes Beijing think twice, then Japan is getting a proper Return On Investment. - Adam Geibel




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close