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Filed Under: International

To counter China, US Marines in Japan are to be repurposed

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The days of Japan’s checkbook diplomacy are over. The Japanese already said they are upping defense spending to 2% of GDP, which will make it the third largest military budget in the world. Now, the Japanese are finding new ways to strengthen military ties with the West.

After World War II, the Japanese relied on America’s military for protection. That’s changing. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is meeting with President Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week, to bolster military ties in an almost NATO-like fashion.

It’s all a coordinated effort to counter China’s increasingly aggressive posturing in the region. Japan sees China’s ambition to reunite with Taiwan as a threat to its own national interests.

Japan is coordinating with the U.S. to repurpose, and in some cases reposition, the Marine Corps regiment based in Okinawa. In what’s being called one of the most significant advances in U.S. force posture in the region, the Marines will be divided into “Marine Littoral Regiments” of around 2000 troops. These units will be armed with missiles and drones.

The units will perform reconnaissance from some of the many islands surrounding Okinawa, and will also serve as a strike force in contested maritime theaters. China has the world’s largest navy, and it’s still growing. So, the ability to target Chinese vessels sailing through disputed territories is seen as a deterrent to potential Chinese attacks.

Japan’s adoption of a counter-strike defensive mindset means being able to hit mainland China as well. So the Japanese are investing in the development of their own long-range missiles. In the meantime, the U.S. is selling Japan tomahawks cruise missiles to fill that gap.

The Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the Marine regiment reinforces Japan’s status as “by far the most important ally in preparing for a Taiwan crisis.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said “U.S.-Japan military cooperation should not harm the interests of any third party or undermine peace and stability in the region.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

THE DAYS OF JAPAN’S CHECKBOOK DIPLOMACY ARE OVER. THE JAPANESE ALREADY SAID THEY’RE UPPING DEFENSE SPENDING TO 2% OF GDP, WHICH WILL MAKE IT THE THIRD LARGEST MILITARY BUDGET IN THE WORLD.

AFTER WORLD WAR II, THE JAPANESE RELIED ON AMERICANS FOR PROTECTION. THAT’S CHANGING. JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER FUMIO KISHIDA IS MEETING WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN AND BRITISH PRIME MINISTER RISHI SUNAK THIS WEEK, TO BOLSTER MILITARY TIES IN AN ALMOST NATO-LIKE FASHION.

IT’S ALL A COORDINATED EFFORT TO COUNTER CHINA’S INCREASINGLY AGGRESSIVE POSTURING IN THE REGION. JAPAN SEES CHINA’S AMBITION TO REUNITE WITH TAIWAN AS A THREAT TO ITS OWN NATIONAL INTERESTS.

JAPAN IS COORDINATING WITH THE U.S. TO REPOSITION THE U.S. MARINE CORPS REGIMENT BASED IN OKINAWA. IN WHAT’S BEING CALLED ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ADVANCES IN U.S. FORCE POSTURE IN THE REGION, THE MARINE REGIMENT IS BEING REPURPOSED TO FIGHT ON THE AREA’S MANY REMOTE ISLANDS.

THE MARINE CORPS WANTS TO DEVELOP RAPID REACTIONARY FORCES, AND WILL GIVE THE REGIMENT A SLEW OF ADVANCED CAPABILITIES, LIKE ANTI-SHIP MISSILES TO COUNTER CHINA’S NAVY, WHICH IS ALREADY THE WORLD’S LARGEST AND STILL GROWING.

JAPAN’S ADOPTION OF A COUNTER-STRIKE DEFENSIVE MINDSET MEANS BEING ABLE TO HIT MAINLAND CHINA AS WELL. SO THE JAPANESE ARE INVESTING IN DEVELOPING THEIR OWN LONG-RANGE MISSILES. IN THE MEANTIME, THE U.S. IS SELLING JAPAN TOMAHAWKS TO FILL THAT GAP.

THE JAPAN CHAIR AT THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES SAID THE MARINE REGIMENT REINFORCES JAPAN’S STATUS AS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT ALLY IN PREPARING FOR A TAIWAN CRISIS.

THE CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SAID U.S.-JAPAN MILITARY COOPERATION SHOULD NOT HARM THE INTERESTS OF ANY THIRD PARTY OR UNDERMINE PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE REGION.

FOR MORE ABOUT CHINA’S AMBITION TO REUNITE WITH TAIWAN, AND THE POTENTIAL CHAOS THAT COULD CAUSE, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR REPORTING ON STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM.

Media Landscape

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38 Other sources covering this story

Bias Distribution

L 32%
C 47%
R 21%

47% of the sources are Center

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The days of Japan’s checkbook diplomacy are over. The Japanese already said they are upping defense spending to 2% of GDP, which will make it the third largest military budget in the world. Now, the Japanese are finding new ways to strengthen military ties with the West.

After World War II, the Japanese relied on America’s military for protection. That’s changing. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is meeting with President Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week, to bolster military ties in an almost NATO-like fashion.

It’s all a coordinated effort to counter China’s increasingly aggressive posturing in the region. Japan sees China’s ambition to reunite with Taiwan as a threat to its own national interests.

Japan is coordinating with the U.S. to repurpose, and in some cases reposition, the Marine Corps regiment based in Okinawa. In what’s being called one of the most significant advances in U.S. force posture in the region, the Marines will be divided into “Marine Littoral Regiments” of around 2000 troops. These units will be armed with missiles and drones.

The units will perform reconnaissance from some of the many islands surrounding Okinawa, and will also serve as a strike force in contested maritime theaters. China has the world’s largest navy, and it’s still growing. So, the ability to target Chinese vessels sailing through disputed territories is seen as a deterrent to potential Chinese attacks.

Japan’s adoption of a counter-strike defensive mindset means being able to hit mainland China as well. So the Japanese are investing in the development of their own long-range missiles. In the meantime, the U.S. is selling Japan tomahawks cruise missiles to fill that gap.

The Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the Marine regiment reinforces Japan’s status as “by far the most important ally in preparing for a Taiwan crisis.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said “U.S.-Japan military cooperation should not harm the interests of any third party or undermine peace and stability in the region.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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