Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Sumihiko Kawamura

#154 Japan Should Launch Measures to Defend Senkakus

Sumihiko Kawamura / 2012.08.23 (Thu)

August 20, 2012

On August 17, the Noda administration easily deported 14 Chinese instead of taking prosecution procedures for them after they trespassed on Uotsuri Island or into waters around it among the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Such stupid action that any law-governed country should not take could lead China to see Japan as easy to win over and encourage Chinese to trespass into the Japanese territory again and again and escalate their actions.

Chinese military likely to land

Given that a group of more than 100 Chinese fishing boats approached the Senkaku Islands in the past, Japan’s present security arrangements may fail to deal with any case where massive Chinese fishing boats invade Japanese territorial waters around the islands.

We must pay attention to the fact that Chinese fishing boats are followed by fisheries patrol boats of the Chinese government, and backed by the Chinese Navy.

Under the Japan-U.S. security treaty, U.S. forces are designed to take military actions to defend Japan when force is used on territories under the administration of Japan. Japan on its own may have to deal with a case where Chinese agents or militiamen trespass on the Senkakus along with fishermen, until such trespassing is identified as use of force.

As far as the Japanese Self-Defense Forces station no troops on Japan’s remote islands, Chinese agents or militiamen acting as fishermen are likely to successfully land on these islands. In such event, Japan may focus on actions after their landings. Eventually, their landings may be identified as invasion of Japan, leading the SDF to remove the Chinese military. Under the present arrangements, Japan must be prepared to make massive efforts and sacrifices to deal with such case.

Japan-U.S. should conduct joint military patrol

How can Japan defend the Senkakus and deter a worst-case scenario? The answer follows:

Regarding its defense policy, Japan should deploy troops and develop bases on remote islands, enhance “dynamic defense forces” to promote their mobility and authorize the SDF to exercise their full capabilities.

Japan should enact a border security law to identify foreigners’ deliberate invasion of Japanese sovereignty as aggression instead of any simple crime. Foreigners’ deliberate trespassing into or landing on Japanese territories to invade Japanese sovereignty should be subjected to tougher penalties than on poaching or smuggling under the new law.

Japan should enhance its alliance with the United States to check China’s aggressively expansionist policy and maintain regional peace and stability. In order to allow Japanese and U.S. forces to implement joint operations more closely and efficiently, Japan should alter its interpretation of its Constitution regarding its right to collective defense.

The most effective specific measures may include the implementation of Japan-U.S. joint military patrol in the East and South China Seas, the promotion of Japan-U.S. joint island-defense exercises and Japan’s support for U.S. forces’ forward deployment including the stepped-up introduction of the Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft.

China will never make any compromise regarding the Senkaku issue. We must launch these measures immediately.

Sumihiko Kawamura, a retired rear admiral from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, represents the Kawamura Institute for Maritime Security Studies and serves as visiting scholar at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.

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