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Country vs country: China and Japan compared: Military

Author: Edsel.G

Author: Edsel.G

The Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is, according to the Japanese constitution, designed only for minimal self defense capability. Brought up after World War II, the JSDF was supposed to tell the world that Japan will no longer attempt to threaten world peace. In theory, the laws prohibiting Japan to export and acquire powerful weapons should minimize its military might. In truth, Japan possesses one of the world’s most powerful armed forces. In fact, by 2012, Japanese defense budget was the 5th biggest all over the world, and by 2013, hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered a full-scale rearmament of Japan.

This massive rearmament is brought about by the threat coming from two countries: North Korea and China, with the much bigger threat coming from the latter. Recently, China has been more physically assertive of its claimed territories, including the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China).

Of course, economically and militarily, China is ahead of Japan. The former has a greater number of conventional weapons and personnel, but Japan hopes to counter these with more sophisticated weapons supplied by its ally the United States. Japan has announced its desire to acquire the 5th generation stealth fighter, the F-35, which is deemed to be superior to anything in the Chinese arsenal.

In an event of a conflict between the two great Asian power, China would probably not have the upper hand. This is due to the fact that the US is obliged by law to come to Japan’s aid should war take place.

Definitions

  • Armed forces personnel: Total armed forces (2000)
  • Expenditures > Dollar figure: Current military expenditures in US dollars; the figure is calculated by multiplying the estimated defense spending in percentage terms by the gross domestic product (GDP) calculated on an exchange rate basis not purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Dollar figures for military expenditures should be treated with caution because of different price patterns and accounting methods among nations, as well as wide variations in the strength of their currencies
  • Expenditures > Percent of GDP: Current military expenditures as an estimated percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually > Males: This entry is derived from Military > Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually, which gives the number of males and females entering the military manpower pool (i.e., reaching age 16) in any given year and is a measure of the availability of military-age young adults.
  • Manpower reaching military age annually > Males: This entry is derived from Military > Manpower reaching military age annually, which gives the number of males and females entering the military manpower pool (i.e., reaching age 16) in any given year and is a measure of the availability of military-age young adults.
  • Military branches: This entry lists the service branches subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces).
  • Military expenditures: This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.
  • Military expenditures > Percent of GDP: This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.
  • Military service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.
  • Service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of sevice obligation.
  • WMD > Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • WMD > Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
STAT China Japan HISTORY
Armed forces personnel 2.81 million
Ranked 1st. 12 times more than Japan
237,000
Ranked 20th.

Expenditures > Dollar figure $67.49 billion
Ranked 1st. 47% more than Japan
$45.84 billion
Ranked 2nd.

Expenditures > Percent of GDP 4.3%
Ranked 14th. 5 times more than Japan
0.8%
Ranked 78th.

Manpower available for military service > Males age 16-49 None None

Manpower fit for military service > Males age 16-49 None None

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually > Males 10.41 million
Ranked 2nd. 17 times more than Japan
623,365
Ranked 18th.

Manpower reaching military age annually > Males 10.41 million
Ranked 2nd. 17 times more than Japan
623,365
Ranked 18th.

Military branches People's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (PLAN; includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (Zhongguo Renmin Jiefangjun Kongjun, PLAAF; includes Airborne Forces), and Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force); People's Armed Police (Renmin Wuzhuang Jingcha Budui, PAP); PLA Reserve Force Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jieitai, GSDF), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jieitai, MSDF), Air Self-Defense Force (Koukuu Jieitai, ASDF)

Military expenditures 2.6% of GDP
Ranked 19th. 3 times more than Japan
1% of GDP
Ranked 46th.

Military expenditures > Percent of GDP 4.3% of GDP
Ranked 12th. 5 times more than Japan
0.8% of GDP
Ranked 50th.

Military service age and obligation 18-24 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs; a recent military decision allows women in combat roles; the first class of women warship commanders was in 2011 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; mandatory retirement at age 53 for senior enlisted personnel and at 62 years for senior service officers

Service age and obligation 18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs 18 years of age for voluntary military service

WMD > Missile China has produced and deployed a wide range of ballistic missiles, ranging from short-range missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). China's missiles are operated by the Second Artillery Corps, and include about 650 DF-11 (M-11) and DF-15 (M-9) missiles opposite Taiwan; several dozens of DF-3, DF-4, and DF-21 medium-range missiles that can reach Japan, India, and Russia; and 18-24 DF-5 ICBMs that can reach the United States and Europe. A transition is currently underway from relatively inaccurate, liquid-fueled, silo/cave-based missiles (DF-3, DF-4, DF-5) to more accurate, solid-fueled, mobile missiles (DF-11, DF-15, and DF-21, and a new ICBM [the DF-31] and SLBM [the JL-2], which are currently under development). China is replacing its older DF-5 missiles with new DF-5A variants, which may eventually be equipped with multiple warheads. A key question is how US deployment of ballistic missile defense (former known as theater and national missile defense) will affect the pace and scope of Chinese strategic modernization. Chinese missile exports have been a problem for more than a decade. China transferred 36 DF-3 medium-range missiles to Saudi Arabia in 1988, and supplied Pakistan with 34 M-11 short-range missiles in 1992. China has provided technology and expertise to the missile programs of several countries, including Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea. China has not joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), but has pledged to abide by its main parameters. In November 2000, China promised not to assist any country in the development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. In August 2002, China issued regulations and a control list restricting the export of missiles and missile technology. Since 2004, China has been engaged in consultation with the MTCR; however, its application for membership was not successful in the regime's latest plenary meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in October 2004. Concerns about Chinese missile technology transfers continue. Japan does not have a ballistic missile development program, but its space program includes a number of technologies that could potentially be adapted to long-range missiles. The solid-fueled M-5 rocket system, first launched in 1995, includes technologies that could be adapted to develop intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities roughly similar to those of the U.S. MX Peacekeeper missile. Japan's two-stage H-2 rocket is capable of placing a two-ton payload into orbit, but the H-2 is not optimal for ballistic missile applications due to its reliance on cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel. Japan lacks sophisticated command and control systems, as well as some guidance and warhead technology that would be necessary to develop operational missiles. Japan has partnered with the United States to research ballistic missile defenses (BMD), but has yet to make a final decision on future development and deployment. Many in Japan argue that a missile defense system would compliment the U.S. nuclear deterrent and defend against possible belligerents such as North Korea. Others argue that the system's costs outweigh the benefits, especially since the system's effectiveness is unproven. Missile defense also raises potential legal issues regarding Japanese legislation barring the military use of space. Japan is an active member of the MTCR and was involved in drafting the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC).

WMD > Nuclear China's nuclear weapons program began in 1955 and culminated in a successful nuclear test in 1964. Since then, China has conducted 45 nuclear tests, including tests of thermonuclear weapons and a neutron bomb. The series of nuclear tests in 1995-96 prior to China's signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) may have resulted in a smaller and lighter warhead design for the new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) now under development. China is estimated to have about 400 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, and stocks of fissile material sufficient to produce a much larger arsenal. China joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state. China provided nuclear reactors and technology to several countries in the 1980s and early 1990s, including design information and fissile material that reportedly helped Pakistan develop nuclear weapons. Since the early 1990s, China has improved its export controls, including the promulgation of regulations on nuclear and nuclear dual-use exports and has pledged to halt exports of nuclear technology to un-safeguarded facilities. In 2002 China ratified the IAEA Additional Protocol, the first and only nuclear weapons state to do so. Japan's "Atomic Energy Basic Law" allows only peaceful nuclear activities, and its "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" pledge that Japan will not possess, produce, or permit the introduction of nuclear weapons into the country. Despite Japan's long-standing stance against nuclear weapons, there was an internal debate in the early 1970s about whether Japan should sign the NPT, in part due to concerns about assuring access to nuclear technology to meet national energy needs, and the discriminatory nature of the treaty. Some conservatives were also concerned that closing off the nuclear option might negatively impact future national security needs. Japan has played an active role in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and has proposed a process for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Japan ratified the CTBT in 1997 and has been a strong supporter of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). However, Japan's security relationship with the United States has tempered Tokyo's emphasis on disarmament. For example, Japan remains quiet about the possible presence of nuclear warheads on U.S. ships and military bases in Japan. Japan increasingly relies on nuclear power for its electricity needs, and has a highly developed civilian nuclear sector. Japan has a controversial program for recycling spent nuclear fuel that has produced large quantities of plutonium in the form of metal-oxide nuclear fuel. At the end of 2001, Japan had more than 30 metric tons of spent fuel stored at reprocessing plants in Britain and France, along with a domestic stockpile of 5 to 6 tons. These nuclear fuel stockpiles will ultimately return to Japan for use in domestic nuclear facilities. The original plan called for consumption of the stored fuel by 2010, but due to technical and safety issues, this timetable has been delayed and return of the stored fuel to Japan is proceeding slowly. Some argue this material could provide Japan with a latent nuclear weapons capability. In addition, the new facility under constructing in Rokkasho (Aomori Prefecture) will increase Japanese domestic reprocessing capacity and potentially produce an additional 5 tons of metal-oxide nuclear fuel per year. Although anti-nuclear sentiment among the Japanese public has far outweighed support for keeping a nuclear option open, several neighboring countries have expressed concerns about possible Japanese nuclear ambitions. Partly in response to these fears, the Japanese government completed an internal study in 1995 that reaffirmed previous conclusions that developing nuclear weapons would damage both Japan’s national security and regional security. However recent tension developing in the region, particularly in the Korean peninsula, has led to increased discussions in Japan about the once taboo subject of nuclear weapons development. Despite recent speculation that Japan may reconsider its nuclear options, the deep aversion to nuclear weapons among the Japanese public will likely make any move in this direction difficult.

Weapon holdings 34.28 million
Ranked 2nd. 10 times more than Japan
3.31 million
Ranked 27th.

SOURCES: IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies). 2001. The Military Balance 2001-2002. Oxford: Oxford University Press; All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008; CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 28 March 2011; CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; The Nuclear Threat Initiative; Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC)

Citation

"Military: China and Japan compared", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/China/Japan/Military

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The Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is, according to the Japanese constitution, designed only for minimal self defense capability. Brought up after World War II, the JSDF was supposed to tell the world that Japan will no longer attempt to threaten world peace. In theory, the laws prohibiting Japan to export and acquire powerful weapons should minimize its military might. In truth, Japan possesses one of the world’s most powerful armed forces. In fact, by 2012, Japanese defense budget was the 5th biggest all over the world, and by 2013, hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered a full-scale rearmament of Japan.

This massive rearmament is brought about by the threat coming from two countries: North Korea and China, with the much bigger threat coming from the latter. Recently, China has been more physically assertive of its claimed territories, including the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China).

Of course, economically and militarily, China is ahead of Japan. The former has a greater number of conventional weapons and personnel, but Japan hopes to counter these with more sophisticated weapons supplied by its ally the United States. Japan has announced its desire to acquire the 5th generation stealth fighter, the F-35, which is deemed to be superior to anything in the Chinese arsenal.

In an event of a conflict between the two great Asian power, China would probably not have the upper hand. This is due to the fact that the US is obliged by law to come to Japan’s aid should war take place.

Posted on 06 Apr 2014

Edsel.G

Edsel.G

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