On August 5, 2014, Japan's Ministry of Defense released its annual white paper. The report discusses territorial disputes, including China's establishment of an air defense identification zone, and President Abe's interpretation of the Constituation, to build up the military for collective self-defense. The report also provides snapshots of Japan's military relations with individual countries like the United States and how the militaries compare by investmetns and capabilities.
Excerpt for Digest Part I:
The security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, being encompassed by various challenges and destabilizing factors, which are becoming more tangible and acute.
Opaque and uncertain factors such as issues of territorial rights and reunification remain in the vicinity of Japan. There is also an increase in the number of so-called "grayzone" situations, that is, neither purely peacetime nor contingencies, over territory, sovereignty and maritime economic interests, etc. In addition, there are clearer trends for neighboring states to modernize and reinforce their military capabilities and to intensify their military activities. As such, security issues and destabilizing factors in the Asia-Pacific region including the area surrounding Japan are becoming more serious.
Despite its changing influence in relative terms, the United States remains the world's most powerful nation, and it is believed to consistently play a signifi cant role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world.
In the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) released in 2014, the United States expressed its intention to continue to uphold the policy of placing the Asia-Pacific region at the focus of U.S. strategy, including the National Security Strategy (rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region), as articulated in the Defense Strategic Guidance, as well as to strengthen its relations with allies in the region and expand its collaboration with partners.
The 2014 QDR states that the centerpiece of the Department of Defense's commitment to the rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific region is to modernize and enhance security alliances with countries including Japan. Furthermore, it states that 60% of U.S.Navy assets will be stationed in the Pacific by 2020 including enhancements to its critical naval presence in Japan, and the Air Force will move forces such as ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets to the region. Meanwhile, the government budget sequestration, including defense spending, which was initiated in 2013, has had various impacts on the U.S. Forces. The QDR also emphasizes the considerable risks that mandatory sequestration would have on U.S. Forces, and much attention will be paid to how the mandatory sequestration cuts in defense spending will impact U.S. defense strategies and security strategies.