Japan: Helicopter Performs Simulated Attack Amid Drills

    Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images News [via Getty Images] (May 27, 2023)

    The Facts

    • On Wednesday, Japan began flying an Apache helicopter over the uninhabited Irisuna island, about 43.5 miles away from the main Okinawa Island, as the country ramps up its 11-day O5JX drills, which will conclude on Monday.

    • The drills also include an air defense exercise in northern Japan and simulated attacks on five nuclear reactors, including the Fukushima plant. Similar military exercises are becoming more frequent after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a plan to double Japan’s defense spending over the next five years to combat possible enemies, such as China.


    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    As the threat from China continues to grow, Japan has no choice but to ramp up its defense spending and preparation. The military alliance between Japan, South Korea, and the US seeks to maintain peace and stop Beijing from violating international law. Japan’s military exercises are necessary to keep the nation safe, and they will continue as long as the threat of China persists.

    Pro-China narrative

    Japan is exacerbating instability in the Pacific region and provoking China at the behest of the US. It claims to be conducting extensive military drills in the name of self-defense, but the truth is that Japan and its Western allies are trying to bully China by sending a threatening message.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Japan will respond with military force if China invades Taiwan before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

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