Source: Global Times Published: 2016-4-23 0:38:01
Japan test-flew its first domestically made X-2 stealth fighter, also known as the Shinshin, on Friday.
Military strategists have been speculating about how Japan intends to use the aircraft.
According to the Japanese defense ministry, Shinshin is not a real fighter jet, but a “technology demonstrator” to explore stealth technology.
Theoretically, the successful maiden flight makes Japan the fourth country to fly a homegrown stealth fighter. But it will take a long time before Japan finishes all the revisions and builds a combat-ready fighter jet.
Japan tried to buy F-22 stealth fighters from the US, but the aircraft is subject to an export ban. Instead, the US agreed to sell Japan the less stealthy and often-criticized F-35 when the aircraft finally goes into full production.
Analysts said Shinshin is not likely to be able to replace the F-35 fighter jet, as it is currently more like a political project aimed at changing the US attitude and enhancing its own security status in Asia.
China’s military power has gradually been leaving Japan behind. Beside nuclear weapons, China’s aerospace industry is ahead of Japan’s. China’s J-20 stealth fighter is an example.
Japan’s military industry has long been suppressed by the US, as it relies largely on the US in its defense. However, Japan boasts first-class industrial technology in many areas. It could still rise up overnight in military might.
China remains on alert about a possible comeback of Japanese militarism. The US, which maintains a military presence in Japan, has been curbing the country from developing nuclear weapons, strategic missiles and advanced conventional weapons.
However, subtle changes have been taking place. Washington has been emphasizing Japan’s “contribution” to Asian security.
Japan clearly resents the presence of US forces more than it welcomes its military protection. Japan’s attempt to seek a normal national status involves the ultimate goal of getting rid of the various restrictions applied on it after WWII, and standing up in front of Asia and the US.
If Japan keeps falling, one day it may be comfortable in the arms of the US. But if it stays one of the world’s largest economies and maintains its technological edge, it will eventually shrug off the US protection and seeks to be a military power. Conflicts with China is the first step. Sooner or later, it will give the US a hard time.
Japan will keep advancing its military technology, and let the US get used to such moves.
In many situations, China may not have the leverage that the US has over Japan. The only thing we can do is to advance faster ourselves and thus make the security situation in East Asia lean toward China.