Regarding the Security Environment Surrounding Japan, the 2020 White Paper notes that uncertainty over the existing order is increasing, and inter-state competition is becoming prominent across the political, economic and military realms. Military powers with high quality and quantity are concentrated in Japan’s surroundings, where clear trends such as further military buildup and an increase in military activities are observed. Recent years have seen a continued tendency towards the prolongation of “gray zone” situations that are associated with territories, sovereignty and economic interests, and such situations may increase and expand in the future.
As far as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is concerned, the white paper identifies three key points:
- The JMSDF will maintain reinforced destroyer units including a new type of destroyers (FFM), minesweeper units, and embarked patrol helicopter units, and will organize surface units. The JMSDF will establish patrol ship units to enable enhanced steady-state ISR in the waters around Japan.
- In order to conduct underwater ISR, and to engage in patrols and defense in the waters around Japan, the JMSDF will maintain reinforced submarine units.
- In order to conduct wide-area airborne ISR, and to effectively engage in patrols and defense in the waters around Japan, the JMSDF will maintain fi xed-wing patrol aircraft units.
Here is in brief the Japanese MoD procurement plans of naval related systems for FY2020
- Procurement of three Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA)
- Overhaul of seven P-3C MPA, one OP-3C image reconnaissance aircraft and one EP-3C SIGINT aircraft
- Procurement of seven SH-60K maritime helicopters
- Upgrade of two SH-60K for Search and Rescue capability
- Overhaul of three SH-60K and two SH-60J
- Construction of the fifth and sixth 30FFM frigates
- Major refit of seven escort ships and order of long lead items for five more in 2021
- Construction of a new type of submarine
- Major refit of three submarine and order of long lead items for seven more in 2021
- Procurement of the fourth Awaji-class MCM vessel
- Commissioning of the first RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAV
- Modification to the first Izumo-class vessel to make it compatible with F-35B STOVL aircraft
- Procurement of UUVs for underwater defence
- Modification to the ASM-3 anti-ship missile to increase its range
- Development of a new amphibious vehicle