TEMPEST Programme: “Where is it written?”, This phrase is used by people when they demand proof of something. The same might be asked while discussing the relationship between US and Japan.

Is Japan, a vassal state of the US?

Do American policies dominate Japan?

What is the proof of it? Where is it written?

Japan’s constitution was written under the supervision of higher-ranking US military generals. It was written as such that Japan was deliberately made submissive to the US and aligned with its Foreign Policy too. But things are changing as Japan is realigning its foreign policy goals and its military policies according to the ‘Future’ with the help of its latest alliance with the UK and Italy.

Japan’s quest for a sovereign military

The alliance between the UK, Italy, and Japan in an ambitious effort to create the fighter jet of the future, was revealed by Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The “Tempest” is what it is being called right now.

Tempest, a sixth-generation stealth fighter scheduled to fly by 2035, is designed to have a wide range of capabilities, including the ability to operate either manned or unmanned, command swarms of attack drones, present a low radar profile, have evolving data systems, and be armed with cutting-edge weapons like hypersonic missiles.

To compete with an aircraft being created by a Franco-German coalition, Britain and Italy have been working on the Tempest (FCAS). The British-Italian collaboration attracted Japan in July, and this year is likely to witness the agreement’s completion.

The name of this alliance is Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a collaboration between London, Rome, and Tokyo. The 6th Gen aircraft will be manufactured through this program.

Through the manufacturing of this aircraft Japan will become self-sufficient on the air front which will give it an upper-hand when it comes to dealing with security. This will help Japan in distancing its security apparatus from the USA and will prove to be a turning point in Japan’s quest for a sovereign military.

Team TEMPEST tries to woo India

According to some reports, the UK and India have also discussed joining the coalition.

The Team Tempest will manufacture this futuristic fighter, with BAE Systems serving as the main integrator, Rolls-Royce providing the engines, Leonardo UK providing the sensors, and MBDA UK providing the missile systems. Currently, four criteria will be used by Team Tempest officials to select foreign partners, all of which India possesses: a sizable air force capable of purchasing aircraft in large quantities; a sizable defence budget to cover development costs; industrial capability to play a useful development role; and global influence to support the alliance.

There are no comments in the public domain by Indian officials regarding this program.

It is important to note that Italy, the UK and Japan wooing India to take part in this gives a hint about the increasing geopolitical clout of India on the world stage. It can be proven from skyrocketing sales of Rafale fighter jet of France after India decided to include it in its armament.

Japan is reviving its military might

After WW2, Japan was forbidden from forming its own military force through the “Peace Constitution” which came into existence, courtesy the almighty US. Since then, the US has used Japan as a piece of land to deploy its forces in the name of security assistance to Japan. The US even charges Japan for this security. Recently, Japan agreed to pay $9.3 billion to share the cost of forces’ deployment in its territory.

Due to this USA commands gigantic influence over Japan’s foreign policy. From alignment with US’ allies and criticizing its foes, Japan is historically compelled to serve US’ interests in the region.

Japan also witnessed terrific economic growth with the blessings of the US. Subsequently Japan’s economy outgrew many high-ranking nations. The small nation had a sense of power and its leaders also tried to detach Japan’s foreign policy goals and approach from that of the US’.

But this perturbed Uncle Sam who in turn retaliated by fuelling the economic growth of China. The US accomplished this by encouraging its companies to shift their manufacturing units from Japan to China. Resultantly, China witnessed an economic boom and in a matter of decades it outgrew Japan becoming the second largest economy of the world. Little did the USA know that the CCP would challenge US’ influence across the world including that of Europe.

Japan rebuilding its military

In a series of revamps, Japan is rebuilding its military citing the looming threats of China and North Korea. A new national security policy for Japan was approved recently marking one of the biggest changes to the nation’s defence policies since World War II.

This represents a significant reversal from the nation’s long-held pacifist political philosophy.

Japan has increased its military budget to fend off challenges from China and North Korea that are well-armed. Security officials in the nation issued a warning that China currently represents the “biggest strategic challenge ever.”

The National Security Approach (NSS), the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Mid-Term Defense Program are the three documents that the cabinet authorised outlining the change in strategy.

By 2027, Japan’s security spending will increase from its current level of 1% of GDP to that required by NATO, which is 2% of GDP.

US is yet to realise the future

Currently, the US is praising Japan’s increased defence spending but it will realise later that it committed a blunder to the tune of fuelling China’s economic growth. The problem here is,  the US doesn’t know when to stop. Whether it is military intervention, economic exploitation or aiding its allies. For instance, the US didn’t know when to withdraw from Afghanistan, it didn’t know when to halt aid to Pakistan until Trump pulled the plug and it also doesn’t know when to remove sanctions from a country which defied its diktats decades ago.

Here US also doesn’t know that they were Italy and the UK which helped build Japan’s fighter aircrafts that were used in WW2 and probably in Pearl harbour attacks. Now Japan is reviving its alliance with these two nations in order to get rid of its dependence on USA. Little does USA knows that the 6th generation fighter made with these countries will help Japan to kill USA’s dominance over it and that too with a new emerging superpower’s entry into the alliance, India.

By piyush

Writes on Geopolitics and Foreign Affairs, Avid learner. Reads books and sips Tea.

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