‘Anti JSDF ideology’ is rampant in academia:
Overcome the division between defence and science and technology! In 10 years time China’s strength will be overwhelming; whoever loses the battle of science and technology loses the war.
March 17, 2021
Kanehara Nobukatsu (Former chief of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affair’s North American Affairs Bureau U.S.-Japan Security Treaty division, former head of the International Legal Affairs Bureau, former Director of General Affairs of Department of the Foreign Policy Bureau).
Joe Biden’s administration is beginning to make serious preparations for great power competition with China. China has also positioned itself for a war of attrition. It is said that “by 2030 the size of China’s economy will overtake that of the U.S.” Even Nazi Germany is said to have had only 30% of the industrial capacity of the United States, and the Empire of Japan during World War II only had 10%. For the first time, America will become the strategic competitor of a nation that is larger than it.
Up till now the source of America’s overwhelming national strength has been global leadership in cutting edge science and technology, such as the creation of the world wide web. Today still the science and technology budget of the U.S. is equal to 20 trillion yen. Half of that goes to the Department of Defence. Without a Science and Technology Agency, the Department of Research takes on all kinds of research including basic/fundamental research. Public research institutes and private enterprises also receive funding from this budget. This is not subject to WTO regulations and is, in reality, a development subsidy.
The U.S. has been desperate to get technical predominance by making massive state investments in advanced computing, artificial intelligence, quantum information science, biotechnology, advanced semiconductors etc.
China is beginning to draw near America in this respect. China, in which the Communist Party of China controls the military, government, industry and academia, has set up a massive military-industry-academia complex under the auspices of a policy of military-civil amalgamation. China’s cutting edge science and technology is reflected by the military equipment of the People’s Liberation Army, which is nuclear armed.
With Siberia to the north, the Gobi Desert to the west, and the Himalayas to the south, China occupies a natural stronghold. It is thus able to invest everything into a Taiwan crisis. The strength of China’s armed forces in 10 years time could become overwhelming in the region. Standing in its way is the Japan-U.S. alliance. In a future war, the loser will be the one that loses in science and technology. America and China recognize this cold hard reality.
But what about Japan?
While a 4 trillion yen science and technology budget is fairly large, academia’s old fashioned anti-Japan Self Defence Force (JSDF) ideology is strong, and the Ministry of Defence only gets 130 billion yen. In the case of Japan, between defence and science and technology sits a ‘valley of death’ deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Chaired by the Prime Minister, the Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), includes a permanent seat occupied by the strongly anti-military Chairman of the Japan Science Council. Yet the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation, which is responsible for preparing for natural disasters, and the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, responsible for communicable disease control, don’t have seats.
Japan’s national budget is 100 trillion yen - take away national dept, regional spending, health care and pensions and there is only 20 trillion left. Using 4 trillion of our citizens’ hard earned tax money for ‘research for the sake of research’ that has nothing to do with defence, natural disaster prevention and disease control is too much. Moreover, a large part of that is set aside for the salaries of university staff and is not directly related to research. The time has come to shake things up in a big way so as to put Japan’s science and technology budget to use for defence, disaster prevention and disease control.