U.S. and Japan in naval exercises near Korean Peninsula: Japan Nationalism

U.S. and Japan in naval exercises near Korean PeninsulaJapan Nationalism

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

America and Japan are holding naval exercises for the first time since 2017 concerning the environs of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is bound to deem this negatively. However, despite North Korea being opposed: for America and Japan, it is about exerting pressure by stealth on North Korea and increasing military inter-connectivity between both armed forces.

Japan is increasingly anti-Russian Federation under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – after all, no other nation in Asia, Africa, and South America is taking such a hostile approach to the Russian Federation. Also, Japan is now taking the most anti-China approach in Asia concerning the Taiwan issue. Therefore, unlike in the past – when a more nuanced approach was taken by Japan concerning the Taiwan issue – many elites within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deem Taiwan within the national security of Japan to the consternation of China.

Nationalism in Japan under the ruling LDP is gaining momentum – firstly by playing the anti-China card and secondly by now playing the anti-Russian Federation card. In the last two administrations in Japan, including the anti-Russian Federation administration of the current leader of this country, it is clear that the economic angle is done and dusted after three decades of poor economic performance. Therefore, the only thing left for the ruling LDP is to increasingly play the nationalist card – concerning the continuity of history – aimed at China and Russia, similar to the Meiji Period when Japan modernized.

Once, Japan took the nationalist sword to Northeast Asia and further afield. Yet economic growth from the 1960s to the late 1980s was the post-War approach in Japan concerning the ideas of Yoshida Shigeru. Economics, economics, and economics – was the battle cry of this important post-War leader. However, after three decades of economic ineptitude – mainly under the ruling LDP – it now appears that nationalism is the only thing left for the ruling “family LDP chain” to provide political substance. 

Hirokazu Matsuno, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, said, the naval exercise is “Aimed at strengthening military cooperation between Japan and the United States, and is not keeping in mind a specific country. We will continue to strengthen the deterrence and response capability of the Japan-U.S. alliance and to do (our) utmost for the defense of our country.”

Unsurprisingly – given the senior role of America to its junior and often compliant partner of Japan – the main showcase was the USS Abraham Lincoln within the carrier strike group. Hence, the destroyers from Japan – JS Kongo and JS Inazuma – furthered the power concentration policies of America. 

In a tweet by the Maritime Self-Defense Force of Japan. It said the joint military exercise will “strengthen the capability of Japan-US alliance for effective deterrence and response.”

However, despite the carrier strike group utilizing the Sea of Japan and the environs of the Korean Peninsula – and condemnation from North Korea – the real nuance for America is its policies of being anti-China and anti-Russian Federation. While for Japan, it is a fusion of anti-China, anti-Russian Federation, ongoing nationalism within the ruling LDP, and to one day alter the constitution to meet the increasing military capabilities of Japan. 

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