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Japanese Destroyer Visits Pearl, Destroys Ballistic Missile

| 9 Comments
SHIP DDG-173 JS Kongo Pearl Harbor
JS Kongo into Pearl
(click to view full)

In December 2003, Japan decided to upgrade their 4 existing Kongo Class AEGIS Destroyers and their SPY-1D radars to full AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense capability. Installations are scheduled for 2007 through 2010, and each installation will be followed by a flight test to demonstrate proper operation. They will fire the naval SM-3 Standard missile, which is under co-development as part of cooperation with the USA on missile defense. These ships will form the outer layer of Japan's anti ballistic missile shield, with the land-based Patriot PAC-3 forming the point defense component.

It would appear that the first-of-class ship JS Kongo [DDG-173] is also the first Japanese ship to have the BMD upgrade installed. Cue the flight test, as JS Kongo visits Pearl Harbor, then becomes the first Japanese ship to destroy a ballistic missile....

On Dec 17/07 at 12:05 pm Hawaii time, a medium-range ballistic missile target was fired from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. JS Kongo responded by tracking it and launching an SM-3 Block 1A missile at 12:08 pm. At 12:11pm, it destroyed the missile about 100 miles above the ocean, achieving a first for Japan and the 12th successful intercept overall for the SM-3 ABM program. The American cruiser and ABM test veteran Lake Erie [CG 70] monitored the test, tracking the incoming missile with its own AEGIS BMD and exchanging information with a land-based THAAD ABM unit on Kauai.

The test reportedly cost about $50 million, and comes just days after a Japanese navy lieutenant commander was arrested for leaking classified information about Japan's ballistic missile defense system. US MDA release [PDF] | US MDA video footage [Windows Media] | Lockheed Martin release | Raytheon release | Boeing | Honolulu Advertiser | Associated Press via MSNBC | Voice of America | China's Xinhua | Times of India

ABM JS Kongo All-for-one 2007-12-17
Click to view full set

9 Comments

From the Japanese Constitution:

CHAPTER II: RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

MacArthur must be spinning in his grave.

T.J., what are we witnessing is the slow triumph of events, geo-political trends and real world survival requirements over that piece of fatuous nonsense.

When General MacArthur inserted that piece of pious prose into the Japanese Constitution in 1946, the USA was in a unique position to credibly guarantee absolute Japanese national security:

1) The USA produced over fifty percent (50%) of gross world product.

2) The USA was the only nation possessing atomic weapons and the means to deliver them.

3) All of the surviving great powers were US allies --- at least in name.

4) The US Navy controlled the seas (with substantial help from the United Kingdom).

5) The US Air Force controlled the skies everywhere except over the portions of Eurasia controlled by the Soviet Union. In addition, the Soviet Air Force had no long range, heavy bomber forces.

6) The US industrial base was intact and suffered no losses during World War II. This was unique among the former and surviving great powers.

7) The US population base suffered smaller losses than any other great power during World War II. As a result of this, and 6), above, it was the surviving great power that could most easily re-mobilize and support a giant Army in any potential large conflict for the next 10-15 years.

Contrast those points with the situation facing Japan today if it chooses to rely completely on the USA for its national security. Some of these points are still applicable, such as 4), US Navy control of the seas. However, in most of the measures of relative global power, the US has declined since the end of World War II. The US also demonstrated in Korea and Vietnam that it was unwilling to use decisive force against enemy nations allied with nuclear-armed great powers. As a result, the US national security guarantee is not worth as much as it used to be.

Japan needs to be able to look out for itself as much as possible in the global struggle for survival and supremacy. This need is going to grow, not shrink, as the 21st century unfolds. Japan faces actual and potential threats from nuclear-armed rogue states such as N. Korea, an ever more powerful China, and militant Islamic states and non-state groups. The US security alliance will still be very valuable in countering these threats, but it can no longer be relied on absolutely for Japanese security.

Douglas MacArthur may well be spinning in his grave, but I suspect his spinning is not caused by Japan's rearmament in an increasingly competitive geo-political environment.

The Japanese people do renounce war. They will act to prevent another Hiroshima or Nagasaki, however, if others seek to bring war to them. And they choose to do so in the mildest possible way.

They have not built atomic bombs to use in retaliation - they have cooperated to create a system that will take a shot at the incoming missiles, and give them a chance. This, after ballistic missiles have been fired over their country by a hostile neighbor.

To ask them not to defend themselves is twisted beyond belief, and has nothing to do with libertarianism. What in heaven's name is wrong with you?

Personally, I'm proud that relations with the USA have progressed to the point that this kind of sensitive research and technology would be a co-operative endeavor. With a picture of Japanese and Americans cheering together, as the "enemy" test missile is shot down by technologies their firms have built together.

This isn't about libertarianism. This is about honor, and the utter contempt for any concept of law by those who have been charged with administering it.

If it truly was desirable for Japan to rearm -- shaky, but ok -- then why the heck didn't the US and Japanese governments at least arrange for the Japanese constitution to be amended BEFORE the rearmament?

The sheer brazenness of this should give any non-anarchist pause: The US Government has been inciting the Japanese Government to violate a key article of the Japanese Constitution written by a legendary US general! This constitution was purchased with lakes of blood, much of it spilled by the much-lauded predecessors of those warriors the founders of this blog claim to support.

People who will defend this behavior and later go on to condemn the behavior of any other person, group, or nation on the basis of said behavior's "illegality" are the basest of hypocrites.

"To ask them not to defend themselves is twisted beyond belief, and has nothing to do with libertarianism."

The constitution was very specific. NO naval forces were EVER to be maintained, for "defense" or any other reason. If this is a bad idea, then people who believe the concept of "law" matters one iota need to get the constitution changed. The fact that this hasn't happened tells me much of what I need to know about the people and agencies involved.

The constitution was very specific. NO naval forces were EVER to be maintained, for "defense" or any other reason.

The proposed MacArthur constitution was very specific, which is why Hitoshi Ashida amended the language in a manner which was widely, though not universally, believed to authorize defensive force. The limitation on naval forces was made solely "[i]n order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph," which was for war.

And MacArthur himself said "despite Japan's constitutional renunciation of war its right of self-defense in case of predatory attack is implicit and inalienable."

T.J. -

With all due respect, and American general authorship nonwithstanding, who the heck are you to be getting bent about the relationship of the JAPANESE government to the JAPANESE constitution?

Your questions are extremely valid in 1950, rather pointed in 1960, interesting in 1980.....

C'mon. The Japanese are living in the real world in 2007, and if you care to read KCNA

http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm

you be reminded that they share a neighborhood with a poofy-haired psychotic who threatens them on a DAILY basis and likes to build nukes and hurl missiles directly over them just for kicks.

The Japanese are playing a perfectly reasonable role, given their global stature and unstable neighborhood.

And the fact is that if they didn't do this, they would be one more ally whose leaders and sane people are quietly supportive of the US, while their students, media, and pinhead "activists" are in the streets, celebrating their freedom of protest that WE protect by calling us warmongers for protecting them. That is one more kind of ally we do not need.

It's also worth mentioning the interesting spectacle of a Japanese warship entering Pearl Harbor. When you expand the picture above, you can see (entirely by coincidence, no doubt) the Arizona Memorial to the right just behind the bow of the JS Kongo.

I wonder when the first Japanese warship to visit Pearl was, and if they follow any special memorial procedures when doing so?

Just curious.

Andrew X, the photo of the Kongo was taken by the US Navy. Most photos of any warship entering Pearl, even American ships, have the Arizona memorial in them.

I'm sure the Navy made doubly sure in this case - in a way, it closes the circle to have a Japanese destroyer visit Pearl for the purposes of testing a system that might prevent a nuclear surprise attack on the Japanese homeland.

TJ -

Macarthur probably isn't overly bothered. Wikipedia:

"In 1950, following the outbreak of the Korean War, the U.S. 24th Infantry Division was pulled out of Japan and sent to fight on the front lines in Korea, leaving Japan without any armed protection. MacArthur ordered the creation of a 75,000-strong National Police Reserve (警察予備隊, Keisatsu yobitai?) to maintain order in Japan and repel any possible invasion from outside. The NPR was organized by United States Army Col. Frank Kowalski (later a U.S. congressman) using Army surplus equipment. To avoid possible constitutional violations, military items were given civilian names: tanks, for instance, were named "special vehicles."5 Shigesaburo Suzuki, a leader of the Japan Socialist Party (JSP), brought suit in the Supreme Court of Japan to have the NPR declared unconstitutional: however, his case was dismissed by the Grand Bench for lack of relevance.6

On August 1, 1952, a new National Safety Agency (保安庁, Hoancho?) was formed to supervise the NPR and its maritime component. The new agency was directly headed by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida. Yoshida supported its constitutionality: although he stated in a 1952 Diet committee session that "to maintain war potential, even for the purpose of self-defense, [would] necessitate revision of the Constitution," he later responded to the JSP's constitutionality claims by stating that the NSF had no true war potential in the modern era.5 In 1954, the National Safety Agency became the Japan Defense Agency, and the National Police Reserve became the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF)."

Stanford Institute of International Studies, Lessons on the Japanese Constitution

"Most analysts agree that the failure to clearly define national defense left the meaning of Article Nine open to debate for all time. Article Nine’s ambiguity came into play almost immediately with the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, and then again with the Korean War. In the Cold War context of a regional communist threat, U.S. and Japanese governments interpreted Article Nine to support rearmament for national defense."

Strategic Forum, Nov 2004 Japan's constitution and defense policy: entering a new era? sheds some interesting light on original intent:

"During the course of Diet deliberations over the draft, Hitoshi Ashida, chairman of the Lower House Committee on the Constitution, proposed the addition of two clauses. The clauses, accepted by both MacArthur and the Diet, have provided the basis for the argument that the article does not impinge upon Japan's inherent right of self-defense. Article IX as it now exists (with Ashida's changes in italics) reads:

(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

(2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Ashida later testified that the new phrase at the beginning of the second paragraph preserved Japan's inherent right of self-defense and "clearly recognizes that (the article) does not constitute the unconditional renunciation of military force." (2) This interpretation was far from universally accepted in Japan, and a Talmudic debate developed over the meaning of Article IX that continues to this day."

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