It turns out that even politicians “don’t understand it well!
On September 10, former Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi said on a TV program.
On September 10, former Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi said on a TV program, “The winner is the one that neutralizes the enemy base as soon as possible. The tools that can be used are electromagnetic waves and satellites,” she said, “We must first neutralize the enemy base using various methods such as strong electromagnetic waves. If we are one step behind, Japan will be in dire straits.
These and other comments drew attention. Mr. Koichi also pointed out the importance of “neutralizing enemy bases” in the televised debate between the candidates on March 19, and this time he insisted on the necessity of precision-guided missiles for this purpose.
Former policy chief Fumio Kishida also assessed the possession of an enemy base attack capability as a “viable option” at a press conference on March 13.
On the other hand, Taro Kono, Minister of Administrative Reform, also mentioned it at a press conference on March 13. In response to a question about the possibility of North Korean missiles, he said.
“Taro Kono, the minister of administrative reform, responded to a question about the possibility of North Korean missiles by pointing out that the idea of an enemy base attack was discussed long ago.
At a press conference on August 17, he responded to a question about the possibility of a military strike against China by saying, “The ability to attack enemy bases is a Showa era concept.
At a press conference on August 17, when a question was posed about the possibility of a military strike against China, he said, “Enemy base attack capability is a concept from the Showa era. Deterrence will be enhanced by the Japan-U.S. alliance. We should avoid short-sighted discussions.
He expressed his cautious stance on the introduction of the capability. He expressed his cautious stance on the introduction of the capability.
What exactly is an “enemy base attack”?
With regard to the security policies of the candidates in the LDP presidential election, the pros and cons of “enemy base attack capability” have become a point of contention.
In order to protect Japan from the threat of missiles from North Korea and China, in addition to the existing missile defense system, there is a debate about the introduction and deployment of new weapons that can attack enemy bases.
In the crucial LDP presidential election to choose Japan’s next leader, it is not a bad thing that the differences in the security policies of the various candidates are raised as a point of discussion. Although this is an area that goes into technical details, the candidates have shown that they are willing to tackle it head on, and that in itself is commendable.
However, in these question-and-answer sessions, both the media and the candidates do not seem to have a unified understanding of the situation in which they envision an enemy base attack.
This often leads the “discussion” astray. What exactly is the enemy base attack capability, and under what circumstances, for what purpose, and for what purpose is it supposed to do? I would like to categorize them based on realistic assumptions.
Japan will not be the only country to fight.
The first thing I would like to point out is that Japan will not fight North Korea or China alone. If Japan is attacked, the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military will always fight in the Japan-U.S. alliance. There is no way that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty will not work in reality. Therefore, we assume that everything will be handled by Japan and the US.
Distinguish between the North Korean threat and the Chinese threat.
Another thing that is often confused in this kind of discussion is that there are two kinds of military threats to Japan, one from the North Korean military and the other from the Chinese military. These are completely different in terms of content and need to be distinguished. However, there are many cases where this is confused in media reports.
For example, the threat of the North Korean military, North Korea does not have the capability to attack Japan with its land, sea, and air forces. These forces of North Korea are vulnerable and can be defeated by the Self-Defense Forces alone without the help of the US military.
Then we can see that there are only two kinds of threats from the North Korean military. These are sabotage and missiles. Sabotage could be terrorism by special forces or undercover operatives, or cyber terrorism. This is a possibility, but the former would be addressed by coastal security and public safety activities, while the latter would be addressed by cyber defense to improve our ability to deal with them. Of course, this is necessary, but since we are thinking in terms of a full-scale military attack, the most important issue is the missile threat.
North Korean missiles cannot be destroyed before they are launched.
North Korea already has several types of missiles capable of attacking Japan, and it is adding more. So the Self-Defense Forces have introduced Aegis ships and PAC-3 as missile defense to intercept them. It is a weapon that shoots them down when they fly in. In addition, it would be reassuring if we could destroy the enemy’s missiles before they launch them. So, how can we destroy North Korean missiles before they are launched?
The truth is that it is impossible. North Korean missiles are mounted on vehicles and trains, and are hidden in mock underground bases and tunnels. When it is time to launch, it takes only a dozen minutes or even longer to get the missile out of the ground.
If these hiding places were known in advance, U.S. and South Korean warplanes could scout them from the air and attack them as soon as they are discovered, or if the information is highly reliable, they could bomb the exits and block them in advance. However, North Korea has built countless underground facilities throughout its territory, and it is impossible to know the location in advance. Therefore, it cannot be expected to destroy missiles before they are launched. The location of the missile launch site will be detected by the heat of the rocket firing, but by then it will be too late.
It would be almost impossible to reconnoiter from the skies over North Korea, so it would be even more impossible to destroy it with an attack from Japan. The first step in attacking the enemy’s base from Japan would be a missile attack, but even if the Self-Defense Forces were to introduce cruise missiles with such a range, it would take more than an hour to launch and reach North Korea.
North Korea’s missiles are not fired from fixed bases on the ground, but from mobile launchers, so they cannot be destroyed by enemy base attack capabilities. Even if the SDF were to introduce faster ballistic missiles or hypersonic glide weapons, they would not be able to accurately hit moving targets.
Thus, for example, Mr. Kono is right when he says that “enemy base attack is an old debate,” especially when it comes to destroying North Korean missiles.
Electromagnetic weapons are not that powerful.
On the other hand, the “strong electromagnetic wave” attack mentioned by Mr. Koichi is quite difficult to achieve in reality. Of course, the Self-Defense Forces would not use nuclear bombs, but rather electromagnetic pulse ( EMP) bombs. However, it would probably be impossible to neutralize the enemy base with the EMP bombs.
Unlike nuclear bombs, EMP bombs are designed to damage radar, communications equipment, and other precision electronic devices in the vicinity of the explosion point. If they can be detonated near the radar and communication equipment of an enemy base, some effect can be expected, but then it would be more certain to destroy them by attacking them with conventional missiles.
The electromagnetic domain is certainly a new area of battle along with the cyber and space domains, and it is a wise move by Mr. Koichi to mention such a new area of battle, but the destructive power of electromagnetic pulse bombs themselves is not that great.
However, the destructive power of electromagnetic pulse bombs themselves is not that great. In the Fuji TV program on March 19, Mr. Koichi gave a noteworthy example of electromagnetic waves, saying, “Electromagnetic waves can also be used for defense after a missile gets very close,” which is commendable.
Enemy Base Attack Capability Cannot Be Expected to Have Deterrent Effect against North Korea
This does not mean that an enemy base attack capability is completely useless.
Although it cannot destroy North Korea’s mobile missile launchers or missile storage facilities that are probably hidden in underground facilities, an attack on a fixed military base on the North Korean side, which is already known, can strike a blow against North Korean military forces, even if it is not a missile-related facility. This would be an expression of Japan’s intention to retaliate.
However, by the time North Korea shoots a missile at Japan, fighting has already begun on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. and South Korean forces are bombing North Korea’s military bases so fiercely that even if Japan were to launch a missile attack, the impact on the war would be minimal. Nevertheless, if we participate in the attack, it will add up to something. How you evaluate it depends on your point of view.
However, we cannot expect that a missile attack from Japan will be a deterrent to North Korea. It is unlikely that the North Korean military, which is under heavy attack by U.S. and South Korean troops, would stop attacking Japan out of caution over a few Japanese missile attacks.
Deterrence” does not work against ultra-dictatorships
In the first place, deterrence against North Korea already exists whether we assume a nuclear war or a non-nuclear war before that, even if we do not rely on Japan’s military power. This is because the U.S. and South Korean forces have overwhelming superiority over North Korea in both nuclear and conventional forces.
The problem, however, is that North Korea is an extreme personal dictatorship, so rational decisions are not always taken. The possibility of reckless behavior for the sake of the dictator’s reputation cannot be ruled out.
Furthermore, no one knows what the military will do if Kim Jong-un is killed in action, or whether the nuclear missiles will be controlled even if the regime collapses. Such instability exists in that regime.
Since such a country already has nuclear missiles, it is essential to prepare for it with missile defense, but the effectiveness of enemy base attack capability, no matter how powerful, is limited. There could be situations where deterrence is ineffective.
An enemy base attack capability is effective as a deterrent against the Chinese military.
On the other hand, the situation is different in the fight against the Chinese military. Since the state system is not as extreme as North Korea’s, it is extremely unlikely that China would force a reckless military campaign that would end in its own destruction, or that its nuclear missile control would go unchecked due to the collapse of the system. If we are to prepare for the Chinese military, the basic principle is to have sufficient deterrence by the US, Taiwan, and Japan.
However, when it comes to the situation in East Asia, there is a possibility that the Chinese military is significantly strengthening its capabilities, and that there will be concerns about its deterrence. Of course, China’s nuclear capability will be deterred by the overwhelming nuclear capability of the U.S. military, but we are entering a phase where we need to further strengthen our deterrent capability in the area of conventional forces.
In such a case, the SDF can play a reasonable role from a positional standpoint. For example, in the case of an attack on North Korean forces, Japan is not far behind the U.S. and South Korean forces in terms of location and equipment, but in the case of a battle against China, the U.S. forces, except for their fleet centered on aircraft carriers, will use Japan’s land as their base of attack.
In particular, the deployment of long-range anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-surface ballistic missiles, and hypersonic glide weapons capable of striking enemy fleets and airfields in China’s coastal areas would be a strong deterrent, along with the medium-range missiles that the U.S. military is expected to deploy in Japan sooner or later.
China already has a total of more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles within range of Japan, and it is within Japan’s self-defense to prepare for this.
Japan-U.S. joint efforts to ensure sufficient deterrence against the threat of China’s non-nuclear forces will be extremely effective in frustrating China’s ambitions for the Senkaku Islands and Taiwan.
Of course, Japan’s national budget is limited and there are different views on the quality and quantity of
We should learn about security properly.
The above is a classification of the specific meaning of “enemy base attack capability,” which is now attracting attention, according to each assumption.
Again, I would like to see both the media and the candidates make a distinction between each of these assumptions. Many of the questions and answers do not distinguish between North Korea and China, for example, and it is often difficult to understand what they are talking about.
At a time when North Korea is developing a series of new missiles and China is hinting at an invasion of Taiwan, Japan’s next leader needs to be able to talk about his own security policy in order to protect Japan.
Fumitaro Kuroi: Born in 1963. Military journalist. Based in Moscow, New York, and Cairo, he has covered many conflict zones. Has written numerous books on military and intelligence issues. Author of numerous books on military and intelligence-related topics. His latest book Super Geopolitics to Decipher! A Map Book of Taboos” (Takarajimasha).
Interviewed and written by： Fumitaro Kuroi