The security environment in the Western Pacific is becoming more challenging for the U.S., its friends, and allies. China seeks to dominate the region and project power globally. North Korea is expanding its arsenal of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. The U.S. is improving its defense posture in the region both qualitatively and quantitatively. U.S. allies in the region, chief among them Japan, need to do the same. Japan has taken some important steps, notably by acquiring the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the V-22 and the P-8 antisubmarine warfare aircraft. But to defend against China’s and North Korea’s growing arsenals of ballistic missile it must invest more in air and missile defense. This includes land-based systems such as the Aegis Ashore. I have written about the necessary investments Japan should make in offensive and defensive capabilities here.
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