Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/21/2012 -- BMI's Japan Defence & Security Report for Q4 2012 examines the country's strategic position in the East Asian region and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the trials it may face in the future.
The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The intention is to provide a clear and concise discussion of these issues. The report's general conclusion is that in spite of growing concern about China's military rise, Japan looks set to remain heavily dependent on the United States as the guarantor of its security. While some advanced programmes are improving the capability of the Japanese military, a defence budget that has declined every year for the past decade and an enduring historical-cultural aversion to remilitarisation continue to place major constraints on Tokyo's strategic options. A new Defence White Paper, released in June 2012, did little to suggest that Japan has changed its worldview.
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BMI notes that changes to the country's defence export rules, announced by the Noda government in December 2011, have the potential to reinvigorate the local defence industry, as well as presenting lucrative opportunities to foreign partners. However, it remains too early to say whether the new rules will reshape Japan's defence industry, or simply usher in minor structural changes. Moreover, it is clear that without budget increases, any changes to the rules governing the defence industry will have only limited effect.
A study group set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2010 to report on the future direction of the Japanese defence industry delivered its findings in June 2012, and stressed the fact that participation in international programmes will be essential if Japanese companies are to retain the capability to produce world-class defence systems. Some opportunities for international collaboration have already emerged, with Australia and the UK having been the first to sign defence industry co-operation agreements with Tokyo. Australia in particular represents a big opportunity for Japanese industry, as it is seeking assistance with the development of a new class of submarine. However, this will be a stern test of Tokyo's resolve to modernise its defence sector, and it may ultimately baulk at helping a foreign country, even a friendly one, to build such a capability.
Our report places Japan's defence policies in the context of its long-running territorial disputes with China, Russia and South Korea. Tokyo's disputes with all three countries are currently highly charged, and have the potential to have a serious impact on East Asian relations, despite progress being made in other areas.
Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
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