Resurgent Japan military ‘can stand toe to toe with anybody’

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(CNN) Seventy-five years after Japan unleashed one of the most devastating naval attacks in history on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, the country has again established itself as one of the world’s foremost military powers, experts say.

Japanese Air Self-Defense Force maintainers pose for a photo November 28, 2106, during the arrival of the first Japanese F-35A at Luke Air Force Base Arizona. The F-35 will give Japan a fifth-generation fighter.
Japanese Air Self-Defense Force maintainers pose for a photo November 28, 2106, during the arrival of the first Japanese F-35A at Luke Air Force Base Arizona. The F-35 will give Japan a fifth-generation fighter.
The resurgence comes despite a constitution imposed by the United States after World War II that limited the country’s forces to defensive purposes only. In fact, analysts say, that defensive restriction has helped make Japan’s military stronger than it might have been without it.
“Pilot for pilot, ship for ship, Japan can stand toe to toe with anybody,” said John T. Kuehn, a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
And it achieved this with a military budget that is only a fraction of others powers.
Members of the the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force attend the annual review at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Camp Asaka on October 23, 2016. Japan has 151,000 soldiers in its Ground Self-Defense Force.
Members of the the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force attend the annual review at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Camp Asaka on October 23, 2016. Japan has 151,000 soldiers in its Ground Self-Defense Force.
The buildup comes as the country faces shifting security dynamics in the region, with a newly elected US president who looks poised to upend the diplomatic playbook and redraw the geopolitical map.

Kyle Mizokami, editor of the Japan Security Watch blog and a contributor to US Naval Institute News, says it is Japan’s alliance with the US that makes it such a formidable power in 2016.
Japan Self-Defense Force tanks and other armored vehicles take part in an exercise at the military's East Fuji Maneuver Area on August 25, 2016, in Gotemba, Japan. Japan has one tank division and three armored infantry divisions.
Japan Self-Defense Force tanks and other armored vehicles take part in an exercise at the military’s East Fuji Maneuver Area on August 25, 2016, in Gotemba, Japan. Japan has one tank division and three armored infantry divisions.
“The United States and Japan are the two closest military powers in the world today. They’re even closer than the US and UK,” Mizokami said in an email to CNN.
“They train together on a daily basis, and there are major military exercises in air, land and sea on almost a weekly basis,” Mizokami said. (Excerpts from CNN article by Brad Brendon)

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