On June 15, Defense Minister Taro Kono announced a suspension of the deployment of the Aegis Ashore missile interception system—a suspension that ten days later became a cancellation. The progression from deciding to deploy Aegis Ashore, to cancelling it, to considering alternatives, reveals policy formation fraught with dysfunction.
Japan has launched three military ships into the South China Sea, a move which could potentially stoke tensions with its giant Asian neighbor.
While the Abe administration presents Aegis Ashore as an essential and relatively uncontroversial contribution to the defense of Japan from the North Korean threat, in reality the deployment of this missile defense system risks further destabilizing the security situation in Northeast Asia, especially with regard to Russia.
A roundup of the most significant news stories from Japan reported on July 5, 2018.
During his recent visit to Canada and the United States, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a number of interesting visits and public statements, once again demonstrating that he tends to give rather different messages to international audiences as compared to what he says at home.