Japanese defense minister warns invasions can start without troops

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TOKYO – In a veiled reference to China’s recent aggression against Taiwan, Japan’s defense minister cited Russia’s annexation of Crimea as an example of how an invasion can begin without deploying troops .

Russia’s act was an “illegal annexation of Crimea,” Nobuo Kishi said in a video message to the 18th CSIS / Nikkei Symposium on Friday. “An invasion can start without anyone realizing it, and a war can be waged without the use of military forces.”

Information control and cyber attacks became important before Russian troops took control of the Crimean region in 2014.

Kishi’s comments come as China steps up pressure on Taiwan. Earlier this month, Beijing flew a record number of fighter jets near the island it claims but has never ruled, and Taiwan’s defense minister warned that China already has the capacity to invade and will be able to mount a “full-scale” invasion by 2025.

Kishi, the younger brother of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told the forum that freedom and democracy are threatened in Asia and other parts of the world due to attempts to “unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion “.

He stressed the need to adopt new technologies in the cyberspace and outer space sectors to deal with threats from China and other powers.

In addition to China’s deployment of coastguard ships near the Japanese Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and calls Diaoyu, and its air forays near Taiwan, North Korea is testing a wider range of missiles that are more difficult. to watch and detect for intelligence agencies.

“Powerful nations continue to strengthen their military might to gain dominance in space and cyberspace,” Kishi said. “North Korea not only has existing missiles but also advanced technology. Democracy is in danger all over the world.”

Kishi’s warnings come as the so-called Hybrid Warfare and gray zone tactics gain more and more global attention. These include disinformation, economic manipulation, the use of proxies, and diplomatic insurgencies and pressure.

Competition in space is intensifying with China, Russia and the United States building space stations. The Financial Times reported this week that the Chinese military conducted two tests of hypersonic weapons during the summer, with sources claiming that a rocket launched in July used a “fractional orbital bombardment” system to propel a vehicle. nuclear-capable hypersonic glide around the earth for the first time. time.

Meanwhile, countries compete to gain an advantage in electronic warfare using the electromagnetic spectrum – the frequency bands of all electromagnetic waves, including radio waves, microwaves, x-rays, and infrared, used in everything from GPS to precision missile attacks and radar advances.

“Regarding these new areas, [Japan’s] The Self-Defense Forces are able to follow the world because we have just taken a step forward. We need to proactively adopt cutting edge technology, ”Kishi said.

The minister, who stressed the need to increase the country’s defense budget, also argued that Japan’s efforts in cyberspace, outer space and the electromagnetic spectrum would strengthen the Japan-US alliance.

“The United States is ahead of us in technology, and right now Japan may seem dependent on the United States. But I hope Japan can make a contribution with its unique technology,” he said. , noting that the country had advanced scientific and technological foundations.

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