「A Proposal for Japan's National Security Policy
MAGOSAKI Ukeru Formerly professor at the Defense Academy
On April 5, 2009, North Korea launched a Taepodon missile. The launching attracted the heightened attention of the Japanese people, due to the information error about the launch committed by the Japanese government the day before and to discussions whether are appropriate countermeasures by the U.N. Security Council (which turned out to be the Chairman's statement). I would like to make a few suggestions, as the launch brought forth fundamental issues with regard to Japanese security problems.
Within the defense budget, we find the amount earmarked for missile defense (MD) has reached nearly 100 billion yen annually, as it forms the nucleus of our defense policy. But this huge amount has been increasing without substantial discussions as to whether, or to what extent, the measures would be effective.
This time, the Taepodon missile attracted a lot of attention in Japan, but this missile is not aimed at Japan. It is said that more than 200 Nodong missiles have already been deployed against Japan. Their launching pads are equipped with mobile wheeled vehicles or underground silos and it is almost impossible to detect the launching beforehand. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry wrote in 2001 in his essay "Be prepared against coming attacks" that, historically speaking, the probability of bringing down in-coming bombers would be somewhere around 3-30% and it would be difficult to argue persuasively that defense against ballistic missiles would be easier than shooting down enemy bombers. He warned then that if you give top priority to missile defense within defense policy, you would make the same mistake as the French, who thought that the Maginot Line would prevent the German army from invading France.
More importantly, North Korea is not Japan's only potential adversary. How to deal with Chinese and/or Russian military strength is no less intractable, but Japan's missile defense system in progress would be totally ineffective against Chinese and/or Russian nuclear weapons. Accordingly, our national security policy should not place missile defense at its center.
Among defense concepts, one scenario envisions the attack of enemy bases. However, if you study Japan's present military defense preparedness you will immediately find out that it has no capability of effectively attacking enemy bases.
The Second World War experience has taught us that the best policy to deter the enemy from attacking us would be to demonstrate how well prepared we are, ready and able to counterattack even more severely.
The military threat posed by Russia, China and North Korea is centered on nuclear attacks. We have to think hard about how to cope with this threat. One of our options could be to go nuclear. Japan, however, would be very vulnerable in a nuclear war with its political and economic centers much more concentrated in particular areas, whereas in Russia and China they are scattered around their vast territories. Furthermore, to what extent Japan can rely upon the U.S. nuclear power is a big question. As Henry Kissinger pointed out in his chef-d'oeuvre "Nuclear War and Diplomacy," the United States may find it worthless to defend allied countries except for those in the Western hemisphere if the American mainland is faced with the danger of retaliation by enemy nuclear attacks. Thus, it must be concluded that it would be difficult for Japan to convince Russia, China and North Korea that the attacker would face more severe military retaliation than its initial attack. Well, then, what should we do? Is there any other way possible for Japan?
As a matter of fact, if we examine fields other than military history, we can find ways to persuade them that "the attackers would suffer greater damage than they inflict in the long run." Today, the Chinese Communist Party is maintaining their regime on the peoples' expectation that it will provide them with high economic profits. China nowadays exports goods worth more than 10-trillion yen annually and a lot of Chinese are involved in the export business. If you calculate the benefit gained by attacking Japan and the economic losses to be suffered wherefrom, the latter would be far greater than the former.
If we expand our conjecture into the field of economics beyond military matters, we see the means by which we can certainly make an enemy realize that "the attacking party will suffer greater retaliation." If we can substantially advance Sino-Japanese economic relations, thus increasing our mutual economic dependence, we may be able to convince the Chinese people that the destruction of Japan-China relationship would be unbearably disadvantageous to them. The same can apply to North Korea as well. Rather than putting more emphasis on the MD, the feasibility of which is not very high, we should endeavor to develop a larger layer of people in North Korea who believe the worsening of Japan-North Korea relations would work to their disadvantage. This is in fact the best way to secure deterrence. If this argument is accepted, it becomes necessary to radically change our strategy towards North Korea.
The writer is formerly professor at the Defense Academy, Ambassador to Iran and Director-General of the Department of International Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
April 28, 2009」