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Japan is changing its face—a new and
revolutionary security policy that does
not look back.

Friday, December 16, 2022 will forever be remembered as the day
Japan declared its security independence
Elhanan Harel December 20, 2022



After months of discussions, most of them secret, and some of them public (in accordance with the democratic Japanese tradition), the government of Fumio Kishida published three strategic documents outlining Japan's new security policy. The new policy marches Japan from 70 years of a clearly pacifist policy to an active and proactive defense policy.


 The Government of Japan has published three significant documents:


National Security Strategy NSS 

National Defense Strategy (NDS)

 National Defense Strategy The Defense Procurement Plan 2023-2027 (DBS) 


The new policy is a response to regional and global events that have presented Japan with the "most complex security test since World War II". The government's announcement notes three threats, (for diplomatic reasons the Japanese government has preferred the phrase -challenges-) 

1.The North Korean challenge - a threat with unpredictable and irrational characteristics 

2.The Chinese Challenge- China's threatening policy towards Taiwan and its aspirations for control of the western ocean...

3. The consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and their impact on the policy of Japan's neighbors.

The most significant change in its new policy is the transition to a "normal state" that is entitled and obligated to take proactive actions to ensure its well-being and sovereignty. No longer a passive defensive policy, but a policy that allows, under certain conditions a preventive offensive initiative. 

So far, Japan has relied on U.S. commitments, and therefore has been equipped with only defensive weapons. But North Korea's armament with ballistic missiles (32 missiles were fired this year alone) and nuclear capability. The change in the character and power of the Chinese army, with repeated provocations in various areas of dispute, led Japan to the recognition and decision that the new procurement program would include offensive weapons and medium- and long-range missiles.

 Many governments in Japan, and Abe's government in particular, have debated the need to change the Constitution of Japan (Article 9), which defines Japan as a pacifist country, requiring conflict resolution through diplomatic means only, as well as limiting the defense budget to 1% of GNP. 

The "Kishida Strategy", as announced on December 16 of this year, shatters the glass ceiling!  Japan announces a defense budget of 43 trillion yen – $315 billion – by 2027 and a 2% budget, as required by NATO member states. 

Increasing the budget includes the purchase of Tomahawk cruise missiles (all-in-one offensive weapons with a range of 1600 km), a substantial increase in the Japanese Navy, the transformation of the Air Force into an offensive arm, and the establishment of a cyber warfare arm. 

The Security Strategy Document (NSS) explicitly states that the Japanese army can initiate a preventive attack as an additional measure of Japan's defense strategy. "We must build an offensive task force that, in the event of a missile threat by an adversary, will allow the Japanese army to attack and prevent the threat from being implemented, all in addition to perfecting the missile defense system" 


The Chinese chapter, in the new security Strategy , is extremely important, it defines China as "the most serious strategic challenge to the preservation of peace and security of Japan and the international community in general China is an international test of the world order and the rule of law – a challenge that presents Japan with an independent defensive need as well as close international cooperation (the United States, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, etc.) is a revolutionary definition in Japan's foreign policy. 


China is Japan's most important neighbor, the second Global economic power (for now) and a key partner in Japan's foreign trade. China's threats against Taiwan and its repeated declaration that solving the issue of the neighboring island is an internal problem of China – which will be solved in any way China sees fit, the provocative naval exercises in the Okinawa region, as well as the repeated declarations of the "semiconductor" war, have led the Japanese government to a fundamental change in its policy. - although it has maintained a moderate definition of "challenge" and has avoided using the crisis terminology of "threat".

 While China and North Korea strongly protested the change in policy (Korea responded by firing two long-range missiles), the United States expressed full support for the new policy, Ambassador Emmanuel Ram praised it as courageous and committed in light of the challenges facing the West. "Japan has placed an exclamation point on its deterrence capability", he said 

"a brave historic step", added a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Washington


As for Israel,

 On the day of the announcement of the new policy, an intimate executive meeting was held in Tokyo, before the heads of the companies who were present at the event, two guests of honor spoke: the Japanese Minister of Defense, Mr. Yasukazu Hamada, and the Israeli Ambassador to Tokyo, Mr. Gilad Cohen. The two speakers talked about the security challenges, each in his region, noting the prospects and risks, both praised the capabilities and the tightening cooperation, 


Remarkably on the evening of that same day while the media was buzzing around the sensational news, Ambassador Gilad Cohen hosted Defense Minister Mr. Hamada for an intimate dinner at his residence, in which very few guests participated,

 The new security policy creates many opportunities for the Israeli defense industry, Japan plans to empower and develop the local defense industry while cooperating with the American industry. The fact that in the last visit of Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Japan, the Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Japan and Israel was tightened, created an inexhaustible triangle of possibilities. 

Japan, alongside increased procurement in the United States, needs missile defense systems in which Israel has proven experience and advantages. Japan intends to develop and upgrade manufacturing capabilities for the development of advanced systems for the Air Force and Navy.  Moreover, Japan is testing UAV systems for intelligence and attack purposes (The experience in Ukraine is very disturbing to them).

 Alongside the activity of the military attaché in Tokyo, the Israeli defense industry must increase its presence in Tokyo, as it does in other strategic markets. 


In the realm of intelligence and cyber warfare, Japan is planning a real revolution, the model is the Israeli model, currently there are about 890 experts in the Japanese army in the field of electronic and cyber warfare. Japan plans to increase the cyber corps to 4,000 experts and establish a national strategic organ, subordinate to the Prime Minister's Office, of 20000 experts, which will act against the "CRK" bloc (China, North Korea and Russia).  As mentioned above, the model to adopt is the Israeli 8200 array with all its branches. Cooperation on this issue has been in place for several years, and will probably intensify to a large extent in the coming years.



To date, Japan has preferred to develop its economy and devote minimal resources to security needs, Japan has fully relied on the defense alliance with the United States, in the "shield and sword" system with the United States, which Japan served as a passive shield only. Now Japan wants to place the sword of her army as well. 


The new policy changes Japan to a "normal country" that seeks to transfer the threat beyond its borders and place itself within the parameters of a possible NATO member


Elhanan Harel - an expert in Israeli-Japan relations.

 CEO of Harel Hertz Investmet, the leading consulting firm in the field of investment and business development, Japan-Israel. 


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