Aearial view of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa
Aerial view of Kadena Air Base via Wikipedia

Japan, US agree to relocate F-15 training from Kadena to Guam

This is part of a large move relocating forces from Okinawa to Guam, but is only a minor victory for the Japanese government who remain unable to effect any larger move.


US drops AEGIS system software upgrade development collaboration with Japan

The US was unwilling to give Japan the right to approve US sales of the software, which could have included Taiwan. Japan’s strict interpretation of its arms export control laws have effectively banned arms exports except for collaboration with the US.

The export of technologies which are exclusively related to the design, production and use of “arms” as defined in paragraph 5 above (hereinafter referred to as the “military technologies”) is treated in the same manner as the export of “arms.” However, in order to ensure the effective operation of the Japan-United States security arrangements, the Government of Japan paved the way for the transfer of the military technologies to the United States as an exception to the Three Principles. [MOFA]

The US will continue development on its own.


Maehara hopes for dialogue with North Korea, abduction issue still holds precedence

With US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth in town, East Asia is talking about how they should engage North Korea. The North Korean abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1960s – 1980s has been a major sticking point both  bi-lateral working groups and the six-party framework more broadly. With North Korea adamant that the issue is resolved, Maehara seems a little too optimistic.


Strong hopes for bi-lateral meeting between ROK and Japanese Defense Minister

The media has been abuzz with talk of closer cooperation between Japan and South Korea in areas of security and defence. In a New Year’s interview, Maehara was mistakenly quoted – so he says – as saying, “I hope that Japan will form an alliance with South Korea also in the field of security”, but the optimism still stands.

During his visit next week, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa will propose that the two countries provide operational logistical support (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement), hold more high-level defence meetings, and share intelligence on North Korea (General Security of Military Information Agreement). The Korean reaction, however, is more reserved.

Meanwhile, the US is prodding both sides of the virtual alliance to engage in tri-lateral exercises. Good luck with that.


Santa brings China some new toys: an aircraft carrier, a next-generation fighter, a diesel submarine and a land-based anti-ship ballistic missile.

The Shi Lang carrier, formerly Soviet Navy Varyag, might be launched in July. Although it most likely be used to train carrier pilots until China can produce its own carrier (ONI estimate: 2015). The Yuan-class submarine also surfaced for a few photos.

With news of the DF-21D anti-ship missile reaching initial operational capacity is sending shivers down the spines of China hawks. The land-based ballistic missile will give the PLA green-water area denial capabilities that would cause problems in the event of a cross-Straits crisis.

Finally, images of a J-20 fifth generation fighter taxiing has caused much skepticism and speculation among defence blogs, but all we know is that it’s big and can roll around an airfield.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch