メインメニューをとばして、このページの本文エリアへ

news letter
RSS

Japanese Scramble Policies

Change is Needed for Real Deterrence

Dennis C. Blair Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command

拡大Dennis C. Blair, Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (Photo by Yuko Lanham)

Chinese and Russian maritime and air activity in the waters and airspace of Japan have increased in recent years. The latest figures published by the Japanese Ministry of Defense, for April-June 2018, report 271 scrambles by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, an increase of 42 times over the same period the previous year. China’s Navy and Air Force are growing in number and sophistication of platforms, and China has been sending ships and aircraft in increasing numbers through international waters around Japan, through their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), Air Defense Identification zones (ADIZ), contiguous zones, and even territorial waters and airspace. Russia has also been building its Pacific forces in recent years, and increasing its air activity around Japan. The Japanese government interprets this Chinese and Russian activity as a threat, intercepts all Chinese and Russian airplanes or ships as they approach these zones, and escort them throughout their flight or voyage.

Although this intercept and escort policy seems a sensible way of protecting Japan’s sovereignty, demonstrating that a country’s armed forces are on their guard and can defend their territory, it comes at a cost in military effectiveness. “Scrambles” of alert aircraft to intercept Chinese and Russian aircraft and rapid sorties of alert surface ships to intercept Chinese ships are simple tactical evolutions that provide little training value in wartime skills. The pattern of reactions provides intelligence insights to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Russian military intelligence services about Japanese surveillance and reaction capabilities, insights that can be used to the PLA’s and Russian Armed forces’ advantage in combat operations. The budget effects of these “intercept and escort everything” policies are more important. They use up flying and steaming hour budgets, leaving less money available for complex exercises to hone more difficult skills that will be needed in wartime. With its “intercept everything” policy, Japan is degrading its readiness to defend their territory in conflict. It is Japanese joint defense capability to defeat island invasions and to retake occupied islands that will deter Chinese military aggression, not a 100% record of intercepting PLA probes.

How can these policies be changed without appearing as a weakening of resolve and capability? The Japanese Ministry of Defense and its Self Defense Forces are under strong political pressure to intercept and escort every Chinese and Russian sortie near their territory. It seems sensible that China and Russia should not be able to operate freely around Japanese territory. However, neither should China and Russia should be able to manipulate Japan to spend its scarce defense budgets in an inefficient and ineffective manner.

全ジャンルパックなら本の記事が読み放題。


関連記事

筆者

Dennis C. Blair

Dennis C. Blair Former Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command

Dennis C. Blair is Chairman of the Board and Distinguished Senior Fellow (Non-Resident) of Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, is the former Director of National Intelligence During his 34-year Navy career, Admiral Blair served as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command.