The Road Ahead

Japan's Defense Build-up Plan, View from Abroad

Consistent with the goals of Japan’s recently announced National Security and Defense Policies, its new Defense Buildup Program (DBP) outlines the path to a paradigm shift in Self Defense Force (SDF) capabilities – from potential deterrent to operational reality. A strong and competitive industrial base is itself an essential defense capability.

This webinar is a candid conversation among foreign executives about the views on the profound changes Japan’s defense is going through. Most of the measures on acquisition and industrial base matters discussed in the DBP can be found in earlier JMoD policy documents such as JMoD’s “Strategy on Defense Production and Technology Base” published in June 2014. But few foreign observers are familiar with the evolution of policy who can compare where Japan was, and is today, and the challenges on the road ahead.

Acquisition and industrial base measures listed in the DBP are all necessary but may not prove sufficient to promote JMoD’s stated goal of building a competitive defense industrial/ technology base. Progress toward a more competitive defense industry will depend on closer integration with the international defense community – failure to do so could have an adverse effect on proper allocation of available funding.

Pursuit of competitiveness in defense industrial activities should occur through capability-building ties with allied and partner industries through joint R&D, production, and investment activities. Recent agreement to merge Japan’s F-X and the UK/Italy Tempest fighter aircraft programs could become a defining precedent for such strategy.

This webinar will feature representatives from three foreign defense companies operating in Japan at different stages of entry into the market, from legacy Collins Aerospace to newcomers Aeralis from the UK, and ST Engineering from Singapore. Veteran analyst and scholar Ken Weinstein from the Hudson Institute leads this discussion on their experiences, current projects, aspirations, and recommendations.

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