Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Japan Drones On!

Never sell Japan short. If most any other country its size had had a tsunami-earthquake-nuclear disaster like they had awhile back, it would probably be a permanent basket case. But they soldier on, despite their constitution's severe limitations on, well, soldiering. And of course when you think high-tech, you think Japan, when it comes to phones and cars and gadgetry in general, in which they manage to be at least six months ahead of everybody else at all times. But, given their imposed pacifism — understandable at the time, of course — somehow we don't think of Japan and military gadgetry.

But we should think about it now. This, from http://www.defenseone.com/

How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

The country has positioned itself as one of the unlikely players in the escalating global race for military drones, a move that’s controversial both at home and abroad. A veteran Japanese politician even warned that the country’s re-armament looked like “a kind of pre-war revival.” The United States has aided Tokyo in its efforts to re-arm, deploying two unarmed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones in May to a base in Northern Japan, which infuriated both China and North Korea.

Japan is now in a position it hasn’t been in for nearly 70 years, when it gave up its right to engage in conflict outside its borders. The country is engaged in a bitter dispute with China over a set of islands that sit on resource-rich sea beds that each claims as its sovereign territory.

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and the implications for both global peace and commerce could be widespread.

Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency.
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Illustration: I couldn't fine a picture of an actual Japanese drone, so I used this gif of a drone-like Japanese weapon developed by Strike Witches (ストライクウィッチーズ Sutoraiku Witchīzu).

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