"From a military strategy point of view, the Seventh Fleet is here, so that's enough of a U.S. presence in the Far East. Beyond that, we can deal with matters by Japan playing a solid role in the Far East.*It seems he blew the minds of The Asahi Shimbun editors as well:
(Translation by Okumura Jun)
Did he mean that when and if Minshuto becomes the ruling party, it will demand that all U.S. Air Force personnel and Marines stationed in Japan leave? Does he intend to fortify the Self-Defense Forces to fill the gap after the U.S. forces depart? Did he make the remarks in the same context as the one when he stressed to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her visit here in February that the Japan-U.S. alliance must be an "equal" partnership?Let's be real: if your thoughts on security policy are too fluffy for The Asahi Shimbun, you have skipped way, way down the yellow brick road.
Tobias Harris has provided a thorough run-through (in "What is Ozawa's Angle?" and "Ozawa holds his ground") of some of the political reasons why Ozawa would make his astonishing suggestion. According to Harris, the remark shows Ozawa skating between the ideological lines of the members of his coalition of opposition forces in the House of Councillors, all while staying true to a conservative vision for Japan's defense. For his part, Okumura Jun provides evidence that Ozawa's remark, while surprising, is not inconsistent with other statements he has made. In comments to Okumura-san post, Janne Morén notes that whatever one may think of Ozawa's remark, the conception of Japan's defense being espoused at least has the virtue of being constitutional.
To which I can only say, "Yes, but...the whole idea is nuts...and when your party is an untried force, you should be trying to avoid giving the voters a reason to run back to the safety of the Big Daddy LDP."
What do I mean by "nuts"? I guess it is placing one's faith in a force that does not exist and probably cannot exist. Where in Japan's budget, for example, is the money to purchase a new generation of fighters to match China's squadrons of Sukhoi 30 variants -- and where are the agreements to acquire any of these fighters, either from among those currently on the market or in development?
Where in the budget is there money for "playing a solid role in the Far East"?
Whatever that is.
It sounds expensive.
Japan's neighbors are expanding and improving their force projection capabilities. Japan will need to accelerate the transformation of its legal and technological framework for military response just to remain in its current strategic position. Where is the will to make these changes? Again, where in the budget is the money to pay for the force upgrades? Where also are the young men and women needed to serve in the more fully self-sufficient Self-Defense Forces?
Now lets us add to the mix the shortfall firepower and warfighting experience that would open up following a radical redeployment of U.S. Forces. Somebody please explain -- in simple terms, so that I can understand -- how a country that cannot protect itself now will find the resources, both financial and human, to deal with loss of the air and ground capabilities of U.S. Forces Japan in an Ozawan dream future?
Ozawa can wish all he wants that Japan were more self-reliant and self-directed in international security matters. Until he has a plan on how reach that state of grace -- starting from Japan as it exists right now (rest assured, he doesn't) --his casting of shadows across the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements must be condemned as irresponsible.
* Ato wa Nihon ga kyokutō no yakuwari o ninatte iku koto de hanashi ga tsuku.