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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

ASDF should enhance defense system with regard to bases: LDP Sato

  • May 22, 2022
  • , Nikkei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The Nikkei has learned through a survey that China has set up an object that appears to be modeled on an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) plane used by the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Nikkei interviewed Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Foreign Affairs Division Director Sato Masahisa, who hails from the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), to hear his view on the subject.


[Excerpts of the interview with Sato follow.]


The ASDF deploys AWACS planes to Hamamatsu Air Base in Shizuoka Prefecture. The aircraft has control functions to give instructions to fighter jets. Without AWACS during a Taiwan contingency, Japan would lose its aerial command functions in the Nansei Islands.


AWACS planes have extensive surveillance capabilities, and it is difficult to shoot them down during flight. I believe China would want to bomb them while they were standing by on the ground. It is believed that an object that appeared to be modeled on a runway at the U.S. military’s Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture has been set up in the desert in China before. We can say both Kadena and Hamamatsu are being targeted for attack.


It is likely that China would fire missiles focusing on the Hamamatsu base from the ground, ocean, and air. The air defense system of the Hamamatsu base and other ASDF bases is insufficient, so the ASDF should increase its capabilities to intercept missiles, including raising the number of weapons and ammunition.


Japan needs to further raise its awareness of threats. It should beef up the air defense functions over the Hamamatsu base in addition to those over the southwestern area. Russian bombers’ and fighters’ failure to function properly in Ukraine may be due to Ukraine’s advanced aerial defense capabilities.


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