Japan wants better space and cyber defense. And they seek US aid

Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya called on Wednesday for increased cooperation with the United States in new domains of warfare like outer space and cyberspace in a veiled response to China’ quest for military supremacy in such areas on top of conventional ground, sea and air domains.

 

In a speech in Washington, Iwaya sought close ties between the U.S. Space Command, which President Donald Trump has instructed the Pentagon to set up, and a “Space Domain Mission Unit” an entity Japan will establish by fiscal 2022 in line with the latest National Defense Program Guidelines that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet adopted last month.

 

photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

 

Iwaya also pushed for deeper coordination in the cyberspace domain with the U.S. Cyber Command, as he outlined a Japanese plan to set up a “Cyber Defense Unit” under the command of the defense minister by fiscal 2023.

 

The envisaged cyber unit “will drastically enhance cyber defense capabilities, including those to disrupt opponent’s use of cyberspace in its armed attack against Japan” Iwaya told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

 

Citing nuclear and missile threats posed by North Korea, Iwaya urged firmer operational cooperation with the U.S. military and said the planned introduction of the land-based Aegis Ashore missile system in Japan will lead to a “tremendous increase” in its ballistic missile defense capability.

 

With the Japan-U.S. alliance as a cornerstone, the minister pledged to advance the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific — a concept apparently designed to counter China’s rising clout and assertiveness in the region — in partnership with Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries.

 

Dismissing local opposition to landfill work that started last month in Okinawa Prefecture, Iwaya said the Japanese government will “steadily proceed with” the construction of a replacement facility for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma so as to achieve an early return of the base.

Reference: Japan, U.S. vow to cooperate in space, cyber domains, over N. Korea

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