YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan --- The coronavirus pandemic made the list of primary security concerns for Japan this year, alongside familiar names like China, Russia and North Korea, according to a Ministry of Defense white paper released Tuesday.
The ministry releases a report on its guiding philosophies, goals and challenges each summer. This year’s document outlines security trends similar to those highlighted in 2019, including China’s “relentless” militarization and coercion in the South China Sea and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“Such military trends in North Korea pose grave and imminent threats to Japan’s security,” the document said.
The defense ministry paper advises the government to “keep an eye on” the coronavirus’ spread as it brings “diverse impacts and restrictions to military activities of respective countries.”
The virus reached global pandemic status in March and temporarily sidelined a U.S. aircraft carrier, but it has not crippled military activity by Japan’s chief ally or its competitors, according to the white paper. In Russia, “even amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic within the forces, military activities have remained active,” the report said. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces contributed significant efforts against the coronavirus, the white paper states. About 2,700 JSDF personnel worked aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that in February quarantined its 3,700 passengers and crew in Yokohama Bay. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Stars and Stripes website.
Click here for the 2020 White Paper (English summary, 14 PDF pages), on the Japan MoD website.