Author Topic: Japan to tap technology for military use, another step away from pacifism  (Read 277 times)

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Via Yahoo News:

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is finalizing a budget for a new command centre for cutting-edge research modeled after the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to try to tap a broad swathe of civilian technologies with potential military uses.

The planned research program is another symbol of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to bolster Japan's military as he seeks to make it less bound by the limits of the pacifist post-war constitution.

Besides raising defense spending modestly after years of declines, Abe is seeking to ease Japan's self-imposed ban on weapons exports and revise an interpretation of the constitution that prohibits the country from militarily aiding an ally under attack.

Funding is not yet decided, but it will likely pale in comparison to the annual $2.8 billion for DARPA, an agency best known for helping create the Internet. DARPA aims to "prevent strategic surprise" by American's enemies and "create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries."

Japan's Cabinet Office, which will oversee the program, is negotiating with the Finance Ministry on the scale of the funding, government officials familiar with the process told Reuters. It will be included in a draft budget for the fiscal year from April, which will be approved by Abe's cabinet in late December.

"We have DARPA of the United States in mind, but it does not mean we are creating another DARPA," said Science and Technology Minister Ichita Yamamoto.

The project will include security but it is not solely to be meant to create military technology, Yamamoto told a news conference last week.

Unlike DARPA, which is within the Pentagon, the Japanese program - already dubbed "JARPA" by some - is to be overseen by the Cabinet Office.

"The starting point is not to develop military applications, but civilian projects that may have eventually have military uses," said Satoshi Tsuzukibashi of the defense-production committee at business lobby Keidanren.

"It's not pure military," he said. But "the concept is high risk, high impact, like DARPA."

Much more at link.

I find this alarming, given the rise in tension between China and Japan and the sheer inventiveness of Japanese companies. Add in their obsession with giant robots - transforming or otherwise - and this is not going to end well.
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