Historically, I tend to keep you readership abreast of changes in Japan’s military regarding government status and disposition. As such, you are all now well aware of the fact that Japan can do a whole lot more militarily than they have been allowed to do for a very long time. This, based off of the nation’s revision of Article 9 of its constitution.
We remember that Article 9 attends to the powers and authorities of the Japanese Security and Self-Defense apparatus. And we remember that there was an unprecedented expansion of those powers and authorities…to the tune of them no longer being “self”-defense. Or even defensive at all.
At the shallower end of this change, Japan’s forces can now defend its allies, and any other forces who are defending Japan. They can also both combat/operational service support and direct combat/operational support–but not direct combat–as long as that support directly (and positively) affects Japan’s security posture.
This operational support extends to anyone on the planet, not just allies. BUT it must behoove Japan to have their forces out providing support. Which is why they have SOF forces in Africa right now prosecuting humanitarian assistance and peace keeping missions.
This is also why they currently have their largest warship floating with the U.S. carrier battle group off the coast of the Koreas; the Japanese NSDF (Naval Self Defense Force) helicopter carrier, Izumo. This is direct operational support, in that this ship is directly involved with the Carl Vinson Carrier Battle Group–the U.S. is a direct ally. It is also indirect operational support, in that Japan is now a sub-player in the defense of South Korea–not an ally.
The Izumo is 249 meters long, 27,000 tons, and can carry nine helicopters. It is the largest combat ship in the JNSDF. A force which, consequently, is larger and more up-to-date than the Royal Navy–even though they weren’t even supposed to have an actual Navy until recently…
So, at the deeper end of that defense revision pool, Japan is deep diving into full “remilitarization” mode–a mode I’d like to hear any Japanese official actually say, in English. Along with all the Cold War era stuff they are doing all over the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Africa, the Japanese are also co-players in a large series of regional war games and train-ups involving amphibious assaults along with forces from the US, UK, and France.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
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