Japan to focus on electronic warfare and cyber areas: Fresh approach to Russia?

Japan to focus on electronic warfare and cyber areas: Fresh approach to Russia?

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan is focused on a five-year plan to upgrade areas related to electronic warfare, cyber wars, cyberspace, and other modern military areas. At the same time, Japan understands the growing reality of new forms of international terrorism, growing threats of espionage, and how technology is revolutionizing many areas related to national security. Therefore, the new defense policy of Japan – while maintaining complimentary military developments with America – is acknowledging the changing military and covert reality, that utilizes electronic warfare and cyber-related issues.

The National Defense Program Guidelines must still consider the changing geopolitical landscape – and not just focus on past ties, or perceive the usual players to be threats to national security. For example, political elites in Japan should review a new relationship with the Russian Federation. After all, the military angle of the Russian Federation in supplying military arms and having favorable relations with China and India respectively – while maintaining a strong base in Central Asia – should not be ignored. Similarly, the energy angle of the Russian Federation is extremely important and the same applies to a more neutral stance to developments on the Korean peninsula.

Hence, while Japan should focus on developing a complementary military and cyber angle with America, this shouldn’t equate to Japan being dragged into America’s containment policy of China and the Russian Federation. Yes, the modernization of China’s military is a cause for concern and the same applies to how elites in Beijing are focused on electronic warfare, espionage, space technology, cyber wars, and other important areas. Equally important, China is adamant that vast swathes of the South China Sea and other disputed areas belong to China. However, Japan must primarily focus on its own geopolitical concerns while supporting America when the situation dictates.

Last year, the Japan Ministry of Defense said, “In view of diversifying and intensifying threats in space, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum domains, in order to protect lives and properties of Japanese people from various threats, Japan needs to strengthen response capabilities in space domain, strengthen readiness for addressing cyber attacks and improve response capabilities against attacks in the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Naturally, the Self Defense Forces Cyber Defense Group will continue to be upgraded in order to meet the changing demands of defense and national security. Often it seems that Japan is playing catch-up but constraints based on the Constitution of Japan is a drawback. Therefore, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe desires to alter aspects of the Constitution and to implement new guidelines in order to strengthen weaknesses within the system.

Overall, Japan is focused on expanding and modernizing areas related to artificial intelligence, cyber information gathering, cyber wars, cyberspace, developing technology in deep space, drone capabilities, electronic warfare, space electromagnetic spectrum surveillance, strengthening the Cyber Defense Group, and other important areas. Equally important, Japan will upgrade these areas internally and develop externally in relation to America and other key allies. This means that Japan is steadily modernizing and adapting to the changing times based on focusing on an array of essential areas.

However, it is incumbent on Japan to refresh its geopolitical approach and this notably applies to the Russian Federation. After all, Japan and the Russian Federation share many complementary factors that could be developed to the betterment of both nations. Similarly, the energy issue, the natural resources of the Russian Federation, the geopolitical angle in relation to the strong ties of this nation with China and India respectively – and the nations of Central Asia – all equate to Japan defending its national interests by moving closer to the Russian Federation. At the same time, shared intelligence and technological developments in cyber-related areas – along with Russia’s strong military complex – will enhance the defense of Japan.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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