The Yomiuri Shimbun The government plans to formulate by this summer an integrated defense strategy, which outlines how the Self-Defense Forces would respond in the event of a contingency involving China over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, according to government sources.
The measure is aimed at devising scenarios for a possible clash between Japan and China.
To strengthen the defense of the Nansei Islands through cooperation between the SDF and U.S. forces, the government will also compile a Japan-U.S. joint operation plan at the same time, the sources said.
With these measures, the government intends to become fully prepared and, at the same time, to develop a deterrent effect against China, which has been stepping up its military activities in areas around Japan.
Possible scenarios for a contingency over the Senkakus likely include an accidental clash between a Chinese fisheries patrol boat and a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel, the dispatch by China of patrol vessels en masse, the deployment of Chinese naval vessels, and landing on any of the islands by a Chinese airborne unit.
The strategy is expected to stipulate operations to be conducted in the form of exercising the right to self-defense within Japan’s territories and waters, such as preventing a military vessel from approaching a remote island by using surface-to-ship missiles of the Ground Self-Defense Force, bringing enemy forces under control with ground strafing from an Air Self-Defense Force fighter jet or fire from a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer, and having GSDF personnel land on the island.
China has been stepping up its military activities not only in the South China Sea, where it is constructing military bases, but also in the western Pacific.
In December 2016, China seized an unmanned underwater vehicle of the U.S. military off the Philippines. Also in the same month, a Chinese aircraft carrier passed through the Miyako Strait, which lies between Okinawa Island and Miyakojima island, to enter the Pacific Ocean.
Although the envisaged integrated defense strategy will include contingency scenarios involving North Korea and others, it will mainly focus on China, according to the sources.
The strategy will also include a scenario in which China simultaneously invades a remote island, such as Miyakojima island, and Taiwan, as well as missile attacks and cyber-attacks by China.
After the chief of staff of the SDF’s Joint Staff and chiefs of staff of the GSDF, MSDF and ASDF hold discussions on the direction of the strategy, it will be compiled jointly with the National Security Secretariat, which is the secretariat of the National Security Council (NSC).
To restrain provocative actions by China and North Korea, the government is considering releasing a summary version of the integrated defense strategy, according to the sources.
Japan’s national security policy is comprised mainly of the “National Security Strategy,” which serves as a basic guideline; the “National Defense Program Guidelines,” which outline medium- to long-term policy directions; and the “Medium Term Defense Program,” which sets targets regarding major defense equipment for a five-year period. The government likely will review this structure of the national security policy and place the integrated defense strategy under the National Defense Program Guidelines. Speech