The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Research Commission on National Security (chaired by former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani) decided on March 20 on the outline of its recommendations for the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the Mid-Term Defense Buildup Program (for 2019-2023) that the government will draw up by the end of this year.
The LDP recommends the introduction of “multi-mission aircraft carriers” and the procurement of the top-of-the-line stealth fighter F-35B. It also calls for the strengthening of integrated operations, with the creation of a “joint command” integrating the operations of the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in mind.
The research commission will finalize its recommendations in May and present them to the government.
The outline proposes a “multidimensional defense structure” as the basic concept of the new NDPG to replace the current concept of a “dynamic joint defense force” focusing on the defense of the Nansei Islands. It aims at joint response not only on the ground, at sea, and in the air, but also in cyber defense, space defense, and other areas.
The F-35Bs are capable of short takeoff and vertical landing. Procurement of these fighters is meant to reinforce the defense of remote islands. With regard to the introduction of “multi-mission carriers” operating fighters and other aircraft onboard, the renovation of the Maritime SDF’s destroyer “Izumo” has emerged as the preferred plan. This plan also envisions the operation of F-35Bs on the “Izumo” in the future.
The outline also recommends the possession of “enemy base attack capability.” This is because existing missile defense systems have limited capability to respond to the nuclear arms and missiles North Korea is developing.
The LDP panel is also proposing the building of integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) systems to be able to respond simultaneously to cruise missile attacks from a low altitude and ballistic missile threats.
Envisioning the creation of a “joint command,” the outline also calls for “reinforcing integrated operations of the central and southwest commands.”