Blackeagle (cdupchurch@hotmail.com)
Sat, 22 Apr 2000 23:35:39 MST


>core@gundam.com wrote:
>
> > Blackeagle wrote:
> > > Last year Japan spend $42.9 Billion dollars on their military. While
>this
> > > is rather low as a percentage of GDP (less than one percent), it's
>still one
> > > of the largest military budgets in the world.
> >
> > I think the limit of 1% is the ceiling set in the Japanese Constitution,
> > right?
>
>That's correct.

Actually, I believe that's incorrect. Article 9 of the Japanese
constitution says: "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war
potential will never be maintained." Since Japan is not supposed to have
any sort of armed forces in the first place, nothing in the Japanese
constitution addresses how much may be spent on the military.

> >
> > > The Japanese Air Self Defense Force has over 330 combat aircraft,
>including
> > > three ground-attack squadrons, nine fighter squadrons and one
>reconnaissance
> >
> > Three ground-attack squadrons? That's getting pretty scary... Have
>they
> > have any military exercise recently?
> >
>
>But you have to bear in mind that because of the constitution, the self
>defence
>forces are just that. Everything is geared for home defence. That means
>those
>ground attack fighters aren't capable of reaching any ground other than
>Japan.

There are a lot of factors involved in mission planning, but off the top of
my head, the F-15J ought to be able to mount a fairly decent strike out to
600 miles. Applying a ruler to my atlas provides some interesting results:
Flying out of Chitose they ought to be able to hit Vladavostok. Flying from
bases in southwest Japan, they could cover all of the Korean Peninsula and
maybe a bit of China around Shanghai. Flying from Naha on Okinawa, they
would be just barely able to hit China or Taiwan. Of course, if the
purchase of airborne refueling aircraft is finally approved in this years
budget, these ranges could increase considerably.

>There is really no long range attack/transport hardware.
>
>The difference between a self defence force and a regular military is that
>the
>self defence force will never been deployed outside the homeland(as
>prohibited by
>the constitution), and as such do not have the hardware for it to be
>deployed
>overseas or fight a war in another country.

Similar to what I said above, Japan's Constitution prohibits the maintenance
of any armed forces, so it says nothing about the deployment of such forces.
  It does, however, say that Japan will "forever renounce war as a sovereign
right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling
international disputes." The precise interpretation of this clause is a
matter for debate. For example, one could argue that conducting combat
operations under the auspices of a U.N. Security council resolution is not
war and thus would not run afoul of Article 9's "no war" clause.

As a practical matter, the constitution is not the issue. What really
prevents Japan from conducting combat operations are the attitudes of it's
people about war.

>You may have heard that a few years ago due to the urging of the United
>Nations
>and the US, Japan did deploy personnel outside Japan for the first time
>since
>WWII. There was a lot of heated debate in Japan and in the end they sent
>an
>unarmed engineering unit to help build bridges. The Japanese people and
>the
>government prefer being under full US protection and maintaining the
>current
>status quo. However, the US has been for some time, trying to get Japan to
>take
>more responsibility for it's own defence and change the constitution.
>
> > > squadron. They fly mostly Japanese built versions of the F-15 and
>F-16
> >
> > I think the F-15J are FULLY built in Japan right? And these F-15J
>aren't
> > cripplewares like the ones US sell to India, Malaynesia etc.
>
>Yes, all the US designed fighters are built under licence in Japan with
>some minor
>modifications.
>
> > > Definitely not. Given the distance and China's deficincies in blue
>water
> > > naval strength, the JMSDF and JASDF would probably be able to take out
>any
> > > Chineese invasion force without any U.S. help at all (assuming no
>nukes).
> >
> > It's fair to say that most Asian countries are pretty scared of both
>Japan
> > and China.
> >
>
>There is no denying that they are well equipped and well funded but there
>is an
>interesting thing about the Japanese self defence forces. They are
>extremely top
>heavy i.e. too many officers and too few men... there are plenty of people
>to
>order action but not enough people to perform it : ) and as someone else
>mentioned they are extremely limited in the types of 'live fire' training
>they can
>do on home soil so they are not as well prepared to face war as other
>military
>forces in that respect.

U.S. Forces (except for the Marines) are also ridiculously topheavy with
officers, so are those of most other nations which have recently been to
war. While this is a disadvantage, it is not a crippling one and it is
certainly not one limited to the Japanese.

________________________________
Chris Upchurch a.k.a. Blackeagle
cdupchurch@hotmail.com

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