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Regarding the April 22 article “Japan eyes buying U.S. F-22A, F-15FX fighters,” Japan has a budget deficit of 16 percent, a public debt of 176 percent of GDP and an external debt of 150 trillion yen. Despite this, the government — infatuated with military pomp and kit — wants to spend a further 1 trillion yen of Japanese taxpayer money, enriching the financial portfolios of American arms manufactures, ostensibly to buy new fighter jets to defend against the bogeymen of China and North Korean.

The fact of the matter is, neither China nor North Korea is a credible threat to Japan’s security. Global warming, however, most assuredly is. Japan is a coastal nation. With most of its population and infrastructure situated within 10 meters above sea level, it is highly vulnerable to rising oceans, tropical storms and accompanying storm surges. Japan’s food self-sufficiency ratio stands at 40 percent — the lowest among advanced industrial nations. It is the world’s largest net importer of agricultural products and its economy is largely export driven; it is thus highly vulnerable to rising oil prices and climatic instability.

Unfortunately, these legitimate security concerns are all but ignored by a government preoccupied with constitutional reform, strengthening centralized government regulation over education and a misbegotten nostalgic desire to return to more “traditional” (should we read authoritarian?) values.

andrew murphy

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