Here's One Strong American Ally

01.14.13

Japan Rearms

A few things I learned from this Wall Street Journal article: 1) talk of Japan "rearming" itself is strange considering the nation has the sixth highest defense budget on Earth, and 2) Russia still has an Air Force.

To its north, Japan has a separate territorial dispute with Russia, and Japan's air force conducted 247 scrambles against Russian planes in the year ended in March, more than double the levels seen before 2007. That is higher than the number of scrambles prompted by Chinese aircraft, a tally that hit 156 last year, compared with 96 and 38 in the previous two years, according to the defense ministry.

"After the Cold War, we optimistically assumed we'd be collecting a dividend of peace," Gen. Iwasaki said. "The reality has been a lot tougher."

Since the latest flare-up of the island dispute in September, Beijing appears to have stepped up provocations by sending in maritime patrol ships with more frequency and boldness.