Asahi highlighted remarks at the Diet on Wednesday by Prime Minister Abe, who said Japan’s purchase of U.S. defense hardware will contribute to the creation of jobs in America. In response to a question from an LDP lawmaker about whether he shares the view that enhancing SDF capabilities will not only reduce the U.S. security burden but also support U.S. increase military exports and hence reduce its trade deficit, the premier said: “The state-of-the-art U.S. defense equipment that we’ve been introducing is indispensable for national defense…. Although security and economy must be kept separate, the procurement of U.S. defense hardware will inevitably contribute to the U.S. economy and employment.”
Noting that in his recent summit with Abe, President Trump underscored the importance for both nations of enhancing their defense capabilities, the daily said the Japanese side is bracing for the possibility of Washington asking Tokyo to purchase more American weapons systems. An unnamed MOFA official said: “Japan will have to purchase the necessary defense equipment to take on more security responsibilities.” As defense hawks within the ruling LDP are anxious to capitalize on possible U.S. requests for Japan to procure expensive missile defense systems such as THAAD and Aegis Ashore, the article projected that the local defense industry would react strongly to such a “Buy American” campaign. An MOD source underscored that Tokyo should introduce high-level defense hardware irrespective of its origins by carefully identifying what equipment is necessary and conducting strict cost-benefit analysis.