Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Canada Backs Japan’s Military Expansion

(Ottawa) Japan is making a major shift in its defense doctrine, and Justin Trudeau applauds this shift. The geopolitical context…

By Editorial , in US Politics , at January 13, 2023

(Ottawa) Japan is making a major shift in its defense doctrine, and Justin Trudeau applauds this shift. The geopolitical context does not allow any other option in Tokyo than to break with its principle of strict defensive posture, argued the Prime Minister of Canada when receiving his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, in Ottawa.

The Japanese leader was making a whirlwind visit to Canada on Thursday as part of his tour of five capitals of G7 countries. He meets his counterparts ahead of the meeting of the Group of Seven, which will be held next May in Hiroshima, a symbolic place if ever there was one.

Mr. Kishida confirmed that he had not extracted any commitment from his host over the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which Japan is thirsty for, like others who are weaning themselves off gas from Russia ( see capsule).

Still, he got a clear stamp of approval from his Canadian interlocutor on Japan’s historic security reform — Tokyo plans to double its annual defense budget from about 1% of its GDP to 2% by 2027.

We welcome [the reform] with a lot of positivity, “because” creating prosperity and peace for our citizens goes in part through investments in security infrastructure, “said Justin Trudeau at a press conference at the National Arts Center. , a stone’s throw from the Parliament Buildings.

After Ukraine, Asia?

When it came time to comment on the case, Mr. Kishida insisted that two warring states, China and North Korea, posed untenable threats to the stability and security of his country, and to the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.

This region, he argued, is not immune to attempts like Russia’s to “unilaterally change the status quo.” He cited as an example the dozens of ballistic missile launches carried out in 2022 by North Korea, one of which fell back into the Sea of Japan last November.

So it is clear to him that Vladimir Putin has followers in the region. “Ukraine today could be Asia tomorrow,” the leader bluntly warned in an interview with the Washington Post a few days ago.

The Japanese government approved in mid-December a radical revision of its defense doctrine in an attempt in particular to thwart Chinese military power, described by Tokyo as an “unprecedented strategic challenge” for its security.

Emerging researcher at the Strategic Analysis Network (RAS), Maxandre Fortier notes that “what is surprising in the Japanese case is the change in the paradigm that has prevailed since 1945”, since “the Japanese Constitution technically prevents it from having an army”. .

According to him, a link can be established between this reorientation and the announcement by Germany of a reinvestment in defense in response to the invasion of Russia in Ukraine, “this last event and the tensions around the Taiwanese question” contributing to the “same feeling”.

After his stopover in the Canadian capital, the Japanese leader flew to Washington.

It’s a safe bet that military issues will be at the heart of discussions south of the border. It’s that the Biden administration is helping Japan harmonize its military and security infrastructure with that of the US military, US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel told the Washington Post.

This article is originally published on