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Japan The Military Technology

Why Japan Is Facing Pressure To Return To Military Research (thestack.com) 267

An anonymous reader writes: China's growing nation status has Japan reconsidering its 70-year old ban on military research projects, as Japanese defense circles actively seek to take advantage of the country's vanguard position in robotic technology. Pressure from the government is also mounting, as authorities try to find means to bring university researchers into the defense fold — particularly to meet the challenge of a more aggressive Chinese military. Funding cuts in Japanese higher education, combined with a weakened economy and governmental austerity measures, may make the allure of military funding irresistible to researchers and academic institutions.
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Why Japan Is Facing Pressure To Return To Military Research

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  • I really hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

    I really hope Japan resists becoming more militarised and aggressive. The current pacifist constitution is a model other countries should look too, not one that should be abandoned. Abe wants Japan to become a "normal" country, but look at what "normal" gets us. The weaponry we export in no way makes up for what we waste on wars, and much of it goes to dubious places and killing the families of people who them try to kill us.

    More than that, being pacifist has kept Japan safe for decades. The threat is alway

    • Re:I really hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @08:42AM (#51665213)
      Pacifist nations get conquered unless they pay to non-pacifist nations to protect them. Blame human nature, but dare not to ignore it.

      It is no longer clear that independent Japan is more valuable to US than trade with China, as such protection is less guaranteed. Look at much weaker Russia getting away with annexing parts of Georgia and Ukraine that only resulted in anemic sanctions and rhetoric.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        You are confusing pacifist with not having a strong defence force. Japan has a modern, powerful military, and as I pointed out could develop ICBMs in a matter of months if required.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        One has to go back to borderline-prehistory to find a time when Japan was not an independent nation though. The nations that the Russians keep messing with are former Soviet states, and they've justified their meddling to their own population as protecting the Russians that the Soviet policies relocated to those nations when they attempted to homogenize the Soviet Union. It may be a bit of a BS excuse, but there's at least a history of direct ties.

        Second, Japan and China are separated by ocean, which h
        • Re:I really hope (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:12AM (#51665351) Journal

          I sort of see Japan as the place to look how to make something new , whereas I look at China as the place to look how to make something cheap and in high volume

          You might ask someone who remembers the '70s how they used to see Japan.

          • Young Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
            Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
            Young Doc: Unbelievable.

          • That's entirely true, in that it was the viewpoint of people back then - but they'd be wrong. Japan has always been about high quality work, rather than mass production. Consider traditional Japanese swordsmithing - arguably some of the best in the world. Their limitation in World War 2 was mostly in terms of lack of raw materials, and to some degree being slightly behind technologically, but it wasn't any inherent quality control problems due to lax standards or laziness.

            And while I'm not going to say th
            • That's entirely true, in that it was the viewpoint of people back then - but they'd be wrong. Japan has always been about high quality work, rather than mass production.

              No. Certainly not before Iwakura Mission to United States and Europe. They sent people around the world to see how Westerners did things and then report back so they could change how the Japanese did things. There is a book of the trip and besides recounting some very obvious stereotypes of Americans and their habits in the 1870's that would be recognized today*, one of the subjects was a long argument that Japan should make their items with skill and built to last as the Americans and Germans did. The auth

      • Re:I really hope (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:25AM (#51665447)

        Pacifist nations get conquered unless they pay to non-pacifist nations to protect them. Blame human nature, but dare not to ignore it.

        It is no longer clear that independent Japan is more valuable to US than trade with China, as such protection is less guaranteed. Look at much weaker Russia getting away with annexing parts of Georgia and Ukraine that only resulted in anemic sanctions and rhetoric.

        Your first paragraph is fine. Your second - not so much.

        You're comparing apples and oranges. Georgia and Ukraine were not NATO members and had no treaties requiring other nations to come to their aid if attacked. Japan has a mutual self-defense treaty with the USA and the US has made it clear to China that it will honor this treaty by saying that it recognizes Japanese control over some disputed islands that China also claims. The reason that South Korea and Japan don't have nuclear weapons isn't because they are too stupid to create them. They don't have them because basically the security treaties they have with the USA are strong enough that they don't feel - yet - that they need to violate international law and build nuclear weapons on their own. But China's continual asshat behavior may eventually lead to Japan reconsidering that and while South Korea and China have no territorial disputes, aggressive North Korean behavior may also convince South Korea and Japan that they need nuclear weapons of their own. China's current government cannot be trusted at all and some Asia watchers have speculated that that some years from now the so-called Peoples Liberation Army may stage a coup and take over China themselves. And nobody knows what will happen then,. I can tell you that my impression is that too many years of Communist Party propaganda have created a PLA that is somewhat divorced from reality and literally believes it is invincible. Japan's fears are real and they would be best served to strengthen their own military now while they have time rather than wish they had done so later when facing a possible Chinese military dictatorship. I believe it is inevitable that the Chinese Communist Party will be removed from power, probably within 10 years. Whether that removal leads to a democratic China or a crazy military dictatorship that in a worst case scenario could be like dealing with a gigantic North Korea, I don't know. But I'm pretty sure that the Chinese military leaders are not as sane as rational as they need to be and it's not going to be good at all for anybody if they end up running the show there.

        • by sinij ( 911942 )
          Actually, Ukraine had a treaty where both Russia and US guaranteed its territorial integrity in exchange for post-Soviet nuclear disarmament.
          • Re:I really hope (Score:4, Informative)

            by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @11:11AM (#51666121) Homepage

            Actually, Ukraine had a treaty where both Russia and US guaranteed its territorial integrity in exchange for post-Soviet nuclear disarmament.

            This is somewhat misleading. The treaty Budapest Memorandum stated that both Russia and the U.S. would respect its territorial integrity, not guarantee it. Russia broke this agreement, but there is nothing in the treaty stating that the remaining signatories had to come to Ukraine's defense*.

            There are the 6 obligations outlined in the treaty:

            1) Respect Belarusian, Kazakh and Ukrainian independence and sovereignty and the existing borders.

            2) Refrain from the threat or use of force against Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

            3) Refrain from using economic pressure on Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in order to influence its politics.

            4) Seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, "if Belarus/Kazakhstan/Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used".

            5) Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

            6) Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            *#4 would have a bit more teeth if the part about nuclear weapons was left out.

      • It is generally understood that Japan could become a nuclear power in fairly short order if it needed to. This isn't Iran desperately trying to gain nuclear capability, this is one of the most advanced industrial powers in the world.

    • Indeed. We need to be moving away from war-ready instead of toward it, as a planet.

      Let's not forget there are 23 US military bases [militarybases.com] already in Japan, providing some considerable deterrent to aggression.

      In some ways, the growth of the Nippon economy can be tied to the lack of a huge defense budget.

    • LOL at the astounding amount of miscomprehension in this post. The only reason Japan is pacifist today is because the USA guaranteed its safety. In fact, both axis powers are still today under occupation. So, how 'bout those US forces in Okinawa, right? Get 'em out! And then suddenly Japan is responsible for its own defense and it's the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere all over again. Thinking the entire world is just like yourself and would never harm a fly is the worst kind of unworldly solips

      • In fact, both axis powers are still today under occupation.

        There were three Axis powers. Although if you want to count Germany and Japan as occupied by the US, Italy is occupied as well.

        • by Gryle ( 933382 )
          Not quite. The US left Italy after the war and was invited back a few years later. The installations the US military uses are technically Italian military bases and there are joint-use agreements for training and so forth.
        • Sigh...OK Mr. Pedantry, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania were in there too. Right along with Finland, who to this day tries to insist they shook the Devil's hand but were only kidding.
          • Finland was forced by Soviet aggression into the Axis. The Soviets were nearly two years away from war with Germany when they invaded Finland, so I view the Winter War and Finland's attempts to find alliances to maintain its territorial integrity a little differently than, say, Vichy France.

            • Yes, they maintained their territorial integrity by invading Karelia. LOL. When you're getting friendly visits from Adolf Hitler you're on the wrong side, period.
              • Which might be something if that was actually the way it happened.

              • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

                The Soviets were pretty much working hard to start the Winter War. They even shelled their own troops to provide the excuse. I'm going to have to say that I don't see the Finns in any light but self-defense against a country like Stalin's Soviet Union. The fact that they managed to even remain independent in that situation was nothing more than astounding.

                Yeah, if you're fighting with the Nazis, you are totally in a bizarre place, but we need to remember that what Germany in regard to Jews and minorities

                • Even Churchill was not unmoved by the Finnish plight, and regretted that the necessities of war required that Britain turn a blind eye to the Soviet aggression in Karelia. I view Finland's alignment with the Axis is a sad twist of history that somehow left Finland stained as a collaborator state, and let Russia off the hook for what was an aggressive war to annex Finnish territory.

          • You forgot Croatia and Yugoslavia as signers to the Tripartite Pact however the major and original signatory nations to the Tripartite Pact were Germany, Japan, and Italy and these three nations are the ones traditionally thought of as Axis nations. When you say "both Axis power" that is a phrase that is non-sense unless you define the Axis powers as the original signatories to the Anti-Comintern Pact which would qualify as Germany and Japan.

            It is really prudent to differentiate between the Tripartite and A

    • Re:I really hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:50AM (#51665619) Homepage

      More than that, being pacifist has kept Japan safe for decades.

      I think it's more likely that the U.S. military presence in Japan has kept it safe.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Japan's Self Defence Forces are pretty formidable on their own, and of course they have the means to build and deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere on earth in a few months. They also have their own spy satellites etc. so it's not like China could sneak attack them.

        • China or Russia could deliver a ballistic missile armed with nuclear warheads to Japan in a few minutes, and Japan would be helpless to stop it. One of the things* stopping them from doing so is the threat of retaliation from the rest of the nuclear club.

          *Of course there are other major reasons for China or Russia to not do this, but Mutually Assured Destruction is definitely one of them.

          • And if China or Russia did that, they'd be saying hello to US ICBM's in a few minutes. There won't be any nuclear strikes on Japan or South Korea. The Chinese won't do it, the Russians have no reason to, and China would never allow North Korea to do it (if NK could even do it, there are significant doubts about its rocket abilities).

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      " The current pacifist constitution is a model other countries should look too, not one that should be abandoned"
      Which was imposed on them by the US after WWII.
      "More than that, being pacifist has kept Japan safe for decades. "
      I think you will find that it is more that the US military has kept the safe for decades.

  • An extremely innovative industrial powerhouse turns to military R&D, what could possibly go wrong.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      The containment system keeping Akira in check will break down and he will return an destroy a large portion of a city in the process.
  • by monkeyman.kix ( 4487805 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @08:33AM (#51665173)
    It is unfortunate that Japan has to consider rearming itself, but with North Korea's ability to launch (possibly nuclear) missiles at Japan, and China's increasingly belligerent tone in the south china sea, Japans current pacifist constitution cannot stand. It cannot rely on the US to wholly protect her. If we could all take a step back and realize the silliness of it all, the world would be a much nicer place, but we are all jerks to someone else, whether you want to be or not and you do need to protect yourself, lest you get shot bringing words to a gun fight.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      North Korea's ability to launch (possibly nuclear) missiles at Japan,

      So here's an opportunity to do a little negotiations. Japan says it needs to arm up because of the North Korean threat. This makes China nervous. China can step up and sit on Kim Jong-un and maybe Japan will feel more at ease. Joint talks between China and Japan over this could also lead to better communications over maritime boundaries than just sending in the warships.

  • No doubt there is a clique of policy wonks telling the gov how great the 'stimulus' will be for their moribund economy.
  • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @08:57AM (#51665277) Journal

    Oh dear god, please build Mechs! You'll need them when giant creatures emerge from a rift in space-time in the Pacific...

  • China's growing nation status

    Is it more of a nation than it was ten years ago, or is this just more incompetent writing funnelled through a dipshit editor?

    • I'm going to take a wild guess and assume what was meant was China's status as a "growing nation"... or rather, the transition from a 3rd world country into a 1st world powerhouse - economically, militarily, and socially. Although maybe I'm giving too much credit. Agreed, though... poorly worded.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:08AM (#51665323) Homepage

    The only reason that Japan is doing this is because China is coming. The USA currently guarantees Japan's safety, but seeing as the Japanese hate the US military being on their soil, it's only a matter of time until they get kicked out, to thunderous applause. Then, it's back to the good old days of Japan/China relations.

    Why are the Chinese doing what they're doing? Two reasons, the first being that they require external resources to power their economy. Without military control, they're under the domination of the international bankers, and we all know how well that turns out.

    China's view is, "we were out of commission for 150 years, but now we're back, and it's time return to the old system where everyone acknowledges China as the center of the world (a far better translation of 'zhongguo' than the pathetic 'middle kingdom' literal translation). Oh, and we're bringing back the kowtow so be ready to knock your head on the floor when you visit us." They were wronged in the past, and now it is time for others to be wronged. Social justice in action. The second reason is to distract their population from the horrid job the Communist Party is doing. Growth is slowing, people are getting restless, and some of them are getting crazy ideas like they could do a better job running the government themselves rather than allowing the smart people to do it. The smart people have been ruthlessly fucking over the ordinary people and laughing about it. You can turn on Chinese TV any hour of the day or night and see at least 2-3 wartime dramas, all reminding the people about WWII. Sheesh, we Americans got sucker-punched by the Japanese but we paid them back in spades. China never got to do this...the Japanese surrendered and suffered few defeats in the mainland. So they do it on TV every day...the joke is that more Japanese soldiers die every month at TV studios than died during the whole war. And it is always the Communist Party doing the fighting, when the truth is that they wisely stayed out of the war and let the right-wingers do all the dying. You gotta hand it to them, they have a good plan and they're executing it well. Japan doesn't really have a choice but to re-arm, they want the Americans out and without defense, it will be Japan who will become a client of China.

    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:23AM (#51665427)
      To clarify, it's not that the Japanese hate the US military and want to replace it with their own. The Japanese that don't want the US military there, generally don't want their own military either. It's not considered a prestigious thing to join the military there the way it is in the US, for instance. And while there are those who mostly don't want the Americans around for NIMBY reasons (which isn't to say some of those aren't legitimate or reasonable grievances, but), they're not exactly motivated by anti-Americanism generally, so much as anti-military/pacifist sentiment.
      • Prestigious to join the military! In the USA of 2016!!! WTF, where have you been for the last 50 years? Elites stopped joining the military a long, long time ago and indeed today spit on those who do. The entire Left considers the US military nothing more than cowardly baby-killers. Prestigious...wow there's a screamer. Thanks for that, I needed a laugh today.
        • Prestigious to join the military! In the USA of 2016!!! WTF, where have you been for the last 50 years? Elites stopped joining the military a long, long time ago and indeed today spit on those who do. The entire Left considers the US military nothing more than cowardly baby-killers. Prestigious...wow there's a screamer. Thanks for that, I needed a laugh today.

          Broad generalizations are the staple of the weak minded. You are partially right that joining the military is not as prestigious as it used to be, but that has nothin g to do with external lefty chupacabras and boogeymen. People in the service no longer recommend others to join. People in the service had ask their relatives to buy and ship body armor when our overthrew the Hussein regime. Undermanned, and underequiped, on the Republican watch.

          Do you have an idea how many veterans are at risk (or become) h

          • It is not a cheap shot to say that the Left has hated the US military since the days of Vietnam if not before. Let's not cry crocodile tears and pretend we care about them, eh? Remember: cowards who hide behind drones and murder civilians. And laugh about it. Shall we do a Google search, or can you do that yourself?
            • It is not a cheap shot to say that the Left has hated the US military since the days of Vietnam if not before. Let's not cry crocodile tears and pretend we care about them, eh? Remember: cowards who hide behind drones and murder civilians. And laugh about it. Shall we do a Google search, or can you do that yourself?

              Reading comprehension. I never said this is not true. And it is still a cheap shot because it doesn't address the bipartisan issues that have created the situation we are in. I'm interested in changing the state of our military for the better and take the left and the right to task. You are just interested in harking back to slogans and talking points.

              Feel free to have the last word. You win.

  • Arms Sales as well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:16AM (#51665373)
    Japan is also getting into the business of arms exports, as well. For instance, they're one of the finalists (and the favored contender) to win a contract to build submarines for the Australian Navy (other competitors being France and Germany).

    Overall, this is nothing bad - even were Japan to fully rearm, Japan today is a far cry from the aggressive expansionist of 80 years ago. China is the real threat to international stability and order in East Asia with its aggressive attempts to seize outlying islands on the flimsiest of justifications. (North Korea is a threat as well, but more to South Korea, and to a lesser extent Japan)

    The Japanese public is also incredibly wary of full rearmament, and they're undergoing massive protests to the current government's plan to even relax some of the pacifist restrictions to let them do things like help the USA prior to a direct attack. To put another way, as it currently stands, if North Korea attacks South Korea, and starts firing missiles at US ships, Japan wouldn't be able to do a thing until Japan itself is fired on - not even to shoot down missiles targeting US transports.
  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:28AM (#51665463)
    Japan has had a long history with China, and generally not a good one. Based on that I'd saw the need increased military research needs to and will happen. China has been throwing it's weight around in a number of areas including the South China Sea dispute as well as Taiwan. One should say Japan was in a hard place for most of it's existence. A small group of islands with big neighbours just next door. Kinda of like the UK. They will certainly need something to make people think twice about invading them. The USA for the moments has interests in keeping Japan (and Taiwan) protected from China. But that could change. If it does, what will hold China back if it decides to "liberate" Japan? (They used a similar excuse for Tibet)
    • Japan has had a long history with China, and generally not a good one.

      True - Most notably, Japan conducted an extremely brutal war of conquest in China in the beginning of the 20th century. The atrocities of the Nazis in Gernmany are well known - Japan was no less bestial in China, IMO. This is still one of the main reasons for the bad blood between Japan and China; as far as I know (but I haven't particularly tried to find out), China has not attacked Japan at any point throughout its entire history.

      As for Taiwan and Tibet: a brief look in Wikipedia shows that Taiwan was ann

      • Japan has had a long history with China, and generally not a good one.

        True - Most notably, Japan conducted an extremely brutal war of conquest in China in the beginning of the 20th century. The atrocities of the Nazis in Gernmany are well known - Japan was no less bestial in China, IMO. This is still one of the main reasons for the bad blood between Japan and China; as far as I know (but I haven't particularly tried to find out), China has not attacked Japan at any point throughout its entire history.

        As for Taiwan and Tibet: a brief look in Wikipedia shows that Taiwan was annexed by China in 1683. Tibet's relation to China has been more checkered, but it isn't correct to say that China doesn't have a historical claim on that territory. As for whether the annexation by the PRC counts as liberation or not is a matter of taste, I think; as far as I know, it was medieval, feudalistic society, where a majority were serfs who lived in poverty. Punishments like maiming were not uncommon. I know that I would have preferred Communist rule, personally, if that was the alternative.

        The Yuan invasion of the Japanese islands. 1274 and 1281. I'm not posting in an attempt of starting a 1st-grader "who started it?" game. I am simply pointing to a well known, extremely important point in the history of warfare.

  • It's about time Japan started cutting funding to the Agriculture Ministry [slashdot.org] to increase funding to the Gundam Ministry [slashdot.org].

  • Japanese universities are already partners in technology development with Japanese companies, as universities around the world are partners with companies in their country.

    Japan will lose a quarter of its population in about a generation from now, so the country must transform from the traditional economic engines of growth (manufacturing, services, etc.) to offset the inevitable decline that will occur in those engines.

    Japan, with encouragment from the US, sees defense technology R&D, manufacturing, li

  • I absolutely do not support Japan doing military research....

    unless it involves building giant sword-wielding mecha. I would absolutely support giant sword-wielding mecha.

  • China's growing nation status has Japan reconsidering its 70-year old ban on military research projects, as Japanese defense circles actively seek to take advantage of the country's vanguard position in robotic technology.

    It is not just China, it is also the lunatics in NK launching missiles over Japanese airspace and making not-so-subtle threats to turn the archipelago into glowing glass. I am sure the US would retaliate and vaporize NK should they carry a devastating attack in Japan, but that is an after-the-fact conclusion. It is one that would not bring comfort to the Japanese who have to face the real threat.

    The US position when it comes to a confrontation with China is less clear. Will they help Japan? I doubt it. T

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