Today, the Self-Defense Forces balance 678 tanks, 2800 units of wheeled armored vehicles, 2500 various artillery pieces, including 99 multiple launch rocket systems.
The marine component of the Self-Defense Forces is represented by 43 strike ships, 3 helicopter carriers, 27 minesweepers, 17 submarines. The coast guard is provided by about 100 anti-ship systems, and the airspace is protected by more than 350 anti-aircraft missile systems. Japan's strike aircraft has 700 aircraft, including 119 combat helicopters.
At the same time, Japan periodically signs contracts with American military corporations for the supply of various weapons.
So, supposedly for the defense of their state, the Japanese government decided to purchase 42 5th-generation F-35 multipurpose combat aircraft, that were developed using «stealth» technology. Moreover, the Japanese intend to equip these aircraft with «air-to-ground» missiles, that could potentially be used to strike targets abroad, which means a serious adjustment to Tokyo’s previous policy, which implied the presence of only defensive weapons. These machines will begin to arrive in the Japanese Air Force in the spring of 2020, and first of all they will be sent to the Misawa Air Force Base in the far north of the main state`s island of Honshu.
It is planned to begin operation of two American complexes «Aegis Ashore» in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures by 2023. Also it is being done under the pretext of the need «for protection against ballistic missiles of North Korea». Contracts for the supply of these weapons were signed in December 2018.
In August 2019, the Japanese leadership signed with the U.S. government agreements for the supply to Japan of 73 anti-ballistic missiles SM-3 Block-IIA, launchers MK 29 and related equipment for a total of $ 3.295 billion. Moreover, official Tokyo signed a contract under which Pentagon military experts also pledged to maintain these systems.
The Pentagon explains the delivery of these latest anti-missile missiles to Japan «by raising the level of security of a key ally that maintains stability and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region». The US military also announced that the anti-ballistic missiles and launchers supply will provide Japan with enhanced capabilities to protect against ballistic missiles. It is emphasized that the adoption of this decision was expedited at the request of the Japanese side.
Despite the assurances of the American and Japanese military departments that the supply of such serious weapons and for such a significant amount will not change the military forces balance in the region, some military experts speak of the possibility of strengthening militaristic trends in Asia. The countries of the region are concerned about the fact that the intensive military construction of the Japanese armed forces is aimed at solving not just defensive, but purely offensive tasks. It should be borne in mind that Japan has territorial claims against almost all of its neighbors in the region. Thus, the question arises as to against whom this modern weapon will be used.
Undoubtedly, these actions of official Tokyo cause concern among the Asia-Pacific countries and have a negative impact on the military-political situation in the region, as the emergence of a well-armed Japanese army will lead to another round of the arms race in an already turbulent region.