Earlier this week, former head of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, Retired Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, voiced his opinion that Japan’s most significant challenge as it initiates a never-before-seen military modernization program and doubles its defense spending is the operational aptitude of its air and naval and ground forces.

He pointed out that Japan is “lacking in maintenance capabilities,” as well as fuel and ammunition stockpiles necessary for a prolonged conflict when responding to inquiries from USNI. He added that their internal supply had been affected since Japan provided support and arms to Ukraine. 

However, Kawano approved Japan’s decision to raise defense spending to 2 percent of its gross domestic product. This will provide more resources for its coast guard, intelligence collaboration with allies, and replenish war stocks. He noted, however, that investment in tanks, submarines, and aircraft had used up much of the defense budget, leaving insufficient funds for ammunition and fuel.

The Japanese military defense has seen several changes in the past decade, both successes and failures. Firstly, Japan has developed new high-tech weapons systems that have increased its ability to defend itself against potential enemies. These include fighter jets and various missile technologies. In addition, they have invested heavily in training their troops, introducing new training programs, and enhancing existing ones.

 Apart from the improvements made to its weapons systems and training methods, Japan has also increased its presence on the international stage. This includes participating in UN peacekeeping missions and forming alliances with other countries, such as the United States and South Korea.

“Long-range missiles alone will not be sufficient,” Kawano said.

As accurate data on targeting and damage assessment from various sources is essential for Japan, the nation’s Prime Minister remarked that revamping the JSDF’s control system and headquarters would make it easier to collaborate with US Indo-Pacific Command during urgent times. Therefore, the new joint command of Japan is projected to become active in 2024.