The Constitution of Japan dates to 1947, when General MacArthur and his staff created a post-war “Peace Constitution” that prohibited offensive Japanese military actions. Constrained to a “self-defense force” focused solely on protecting the homeland, technologies and investments for pure “military” uses have not been possible. Instead, Japan has relied heavily on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, depending on the United States to protect their homeland if invaded. In exchange, the United States has benefited greatly by having liberal access to strategic military bases throughout the archipelago.
Until recently, the population of Japan has been keen to keep this non-aggressive stance. Over the past decade, however, Japan has been forced to consider an increasingly threatening Pacific Theater: North Korea’s relentless saber-rattling and China’s persistent encroachment outside their territorial waters. In 2014, the Constitution of Japan was “reinterpreted” to include the possibly of “collective defense operations”. Since then, Japan has been steadily increasing the Defense Budget.
Last December, Japan dramatically transformed their National Defense Strategy, committing to increasing defense investments to 2% of the GDP by 2027. Their recently published Defense Buildup Program sets mid-term (5 year) and long-term (10 year) goals, allocating $314B (in US dollars) – a 1.6X increase. The below chart has been presented by the Japanese Ministry of Defense at multiple forums this year:
Investments will be allocated into seven key defense capability areas:
- Stand-off Defense Capabilities
- Integrated Air and Missile Defense Capabilities
- Unmanned Defense Capabilities
- Cross-Domain Operation Capabilities
- Command and Control and Intelligence-related Functions
- Mobile Deployment Capabilities/ Civil Protection
- Sustainability and Resiliency
Like most Nations, Japan will prefer to use their organic resources to fill these requirements. However, considering the long prohibition against military-specific investments, Japan realizes that quickly achieving these goals will be difficult without imported key technologies and rapid acquisition capabilities. To that end, they are standing up (later this year) a new organization, modeled after our DARPA or Defense Innovation Unit, that can work with Industry to quickly bring together new defensive capabilities.
OODA’s analysts closely monitor these topics and is eager to assist you in your research, due diligence and market assessment endeavors. Contact us for more information.
Japan’s National Defense Technology Strategy (presented by the CTO of the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency)
Defense Programs and Budget of Japan (Overview of the FY2023 Budget)