GAVAN McCORMACK—The six years of Abe Shinzo’s second term (from 2013) saw a steady rise in Japan’s defence expenditure, the relaxation of the ban on arms exports and, in March 2017, the scrapping of the long-standing self-imposed expenditure limit of 1% of GDP. In 2018, the LDP called on the government to double its defence expenditure to the (nominal) NATO level of 2% of GDP.Japan is now committed to building its first aircraft carrier. It purchases large numbers of stealth F-15 fighters and missile and anti-missile units. It despatches the Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) to the South China Sea 3,000 kilometres away, and even to Japan’s first post-1945 overseas naval base, at Djibouti, located 10,000 kilometres away. It also builds and furbishes a lavish chain of bases for US forces and hosts 50,000 US troops.
PHILIP A. FARRUGGIO—Only a fool will deny that most of what our government labels as Al Qaeda or ISIL or whatever fanatical Islamic group is out there, would not even fit inside of a sports stadium with their numbers… IF we never attacked, invaded and occupied Iraq. Ditto for Afghanistan, where the Taliban had offered to turn over Bin Laden after 9/11. No, those two nations had to be controlled. Why? Well, as to Iraq, Hussein was going to begin selling his oil in Euros and not in the dollars he always traded in. Of course, Iraq’s oil reserves were massive and needed to be controlled by us.
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BEN McGRATH—Japan will purchase 147 F-35 fighter jets, including 42 of the F-35Bs for the aircraft carriers. Other jets will be stationed on islands in the East China Sea, around the uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, that are claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.
Japan intends to equip these jets with long-range cruise missiles, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 900 kilometers. These Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM), would, in the words of their developer US-based Lockheed Martin, give Japan the ability to “destroy hostile air defenses and high value, well defended, fixed and relocatable targets while keeping aircraft safely out of range from hostile air defense systems.” Japan will also pursue the development of hypersonic guided missiles that evade radar systems.
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AIDAN O’BRIEN—And before someone objects to the association of British wars and Japanese wars – compare Britain’s present military campaign in the Middle East with Japan’s old military campaign on mainland Asia. Like Japan’s actions in Asia (starting with Korea – 1905) Britain’s actions in Asia (starting with Afghanistan – 2001) are rolling affairs, involving one war of aggression after another. Moreover, the end point of Japan’s past invasions was World War. Similarly, the end point of Britain’s present invasions looks more and more like World War.
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HIROYUKI HAMADA–Now, such an angle also helps us see 9/11 from a fresh perspective. All the unanswered questions surrounding the event, the use of the event to start a string of colonial wars against the Middle East, the use of the event to introduce draconian laws against the US population and so on delineate the nature of the imperial trajectory.