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Japan's Military Bulking Up, Flexing Muscles

Prime Minister Abe Attends Naval Fleet Review

At the foot of Mount Fuji on Tuesday, Japan’s military held annual exercises with dozens of aircraft, 80 tanks, and 2,400 troops, the AP reports.

Designed more as a spectacle than a training opportunity, the exercises focus on a scenario in which Japan is attacked from the sea. As a narrator explained the attack to thousands of spectators in grandstands, a wide array of aircraft, artillery, tanks and helicopters fired on targets at the base of the scenic mountain, a powerful symbol of Japan itself.

No doubt Japan’s neighbors were just as transfixed by this “spectacle” as was the domestic audience. Itsunori Onodera, the Japanese Defense Minister, said that “deepening uncertainties” were making the region more dangerous for Japan, and that a stronger military, especially one that can defend the Japanese islands from attacks from the sea, is thus vitally important. Onodera also said that Japan would develop its surveillance capabilities to better keep an eye on Chinese ships trying to venture toward the disputed territories in the East China Sea.

[Japanese warships photo courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • phineasfahrquar

    A militarily powerful democratic Japan is probably in American interests, as long as it doesn’t again fall into the trap of hyper-nationalism. (A condition that seems to be striking China.)

  • tarentius

    Japan’s neighbors surely were “transfixed by this spectacle.” Transfixed with incredulity as to just who the Japanese think they were fooling. A “training exercise” involving 2400 troops, 80 tanks and armored vehicles, and 30 aircraft, held in front of spectators in viewing stands is a farce. A farce. The Chinese were shaking in their boots – from laughter.
    The Japanese Navy is a formidable regional force but it doesn’t help their deterrent ability when the Japanese pull off his kind of farcical stunt.

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