Any threat to Japanese interests in space could prompt a US response – Business AM

In the event of an orbital attack on Japanese interests – a satellite, for example – the United States could very well lead the response. This is essentially the message that Tokyo and Washington have just sent to Beijing: the American umbrella over the archipelago extends into space.

Why is it important?

Increased Chinese – and Russian – military activity in the Pacific is raising concerns in Japan, where there are fears of being drawn into a conflict over Taiwan. A context that extends to space, where the satellites of the various nations involved represent so many strategic objectives.

In the news: the defensive alliance between Japan and the United States now also extends into space, the two nations jointly announced.

Uncle Sam’s Sturdy Umbrella

  • “We agree that attacks to and from space are an obvious challenge,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday after meeting Japanese counterparts in Washington. “We assert that, depending on the nature of these attacks, this could lead to the invocation of Article 5 of our Japan-US security treaty. »
  • In other words, attacking Japan’s interests in space would be tantamount to incurring American wrath. A warning against powers considered hostile in the region, in the first place China.
  • US Defense also confirmed the long-planned installation in Okinawa, reminiscent of the Financial Timesa regiment of US Marines with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as anti-ship and transport capabilities.
  • Japan and the United States also agreed to increase training and bilateral exercises on Japan’s southwest islands, which Tokyo calls the Nansei Islands, where China has recently bolstered its naval presence.

Japan, on the front lines against China in the Pacific.

  • If it is mainly Taiwan that fears an attack from Beijing, which wants to see the island come to its senses, Japan is concerned about the growing activity of the Chinese army on the edge of its skies and its waters. The PLA (People’s Liberation Army of Communist China) conducted several large-scale exercises in the North Pacific, sometimes in conjunction with the Russian fleet.
  • In recent years, Japan has been rearming itself, ever more resolutely breaking the taboo on anything military that pervades its constitution. The country even allows itself rhetorical pirouettes to equip itself with weapons that, in theory, it should refuse; Tokyo turned a (very large) destroyer into a pocket aircraft carrier, the first in the Imperial fleet since 1945.
  • Japan also plans to equip itself with Tomahawk missiles, which would give it the ability to reach Chinese soil. Here again, it is a total paradigm shift for a country that officially has no army, but a simple “self-defense force”.

The sea and the sky, but also space

The context : the militarization of Earth’s orbit is growing, at the same time that this environment appears more and more as a potential battlefield, in the same way as a country’s maritime or air space.

  • A country’s satellites represent a strategic bet for its communications, its access to the Internet, but also the coordination of its armies. And a growing number of them are investing to protect their own, but also to destroy or render inoperative those of a potential enemy.
  • This announcement, which extends the American umbrella over the Japanese archipelago into space, comes precisely at a time when China is increasingly involved in its own space program as it works on ways to neutralize Starlink-type satellite networks.

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