Appendix D

Possibilities for U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Theater Missile Defense

BACKGROUND

One possible area for U.S.-Japan cooperation in defense technology is theater missile defense (TMD). The object of TMD is to provide protection for targets or regions subject to short- to mid-range ballistic missile attacks.

During the Cold War, Japan enjoyed the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella as a safeguard against ballistic missile attack from the Soviet Union. Now that the Cold War has ended, there is some concern that the threat of U.S. nuclear retaliation may not provide adequate protection against ballistic missile attacks (not necessarily nuclear) directed at Japan from elsewhere in the Northeast Asian region.

The United States has made significant progress in TMD technology. Japan, due to its relatively small geographic area, is well suited to TMD; indeed, for Japan a TMD system would approximate national missile defense. Thus, both the growing technical feasibility of effective TMD systems and the current and future ballistic missile capabilities of countries in the Northeast Asian region suggest an opportunity for U.S.-Japan defense technology cooperation in this area. Currently, U.S.-Japan discussions are moving forward in the context of a joint study of Japan’s TMD requirements under the leadership of the Japan Defense Agency (JDA).

U.S. CAPABILITIES AND PLANS

Current U.S. TMD capabilities are limited to terminal defense against short- to medium-range (70- to 2500-km) ballistic missiles provided by the Army’s Patriot PAC-2 missile system. The Patriot missile system and PAC-2 missile have been improved to enhance antitheater ballistic missile (ATBM) capabilities since the Persian Gulf War.1

During the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) enjoyed a high level of funding support for missile defense research as part of the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The goal of SDI was a national defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. With the end of the Cold War resulting in a lower threat of a full-scale strategic missile attack as well as the increased focus on theater missile threats that emerged following the Persian Gulf War, the Clinton administration scaled back this effort and refocused missile defense research on ground-based defense against tactical ballistic missiles.

Three programs form the core of U.S. near-term plans to introduce more advanced ballistic missile defense systems. Patriot antitactical ballistic missile (ATBM) capabilities will be improved with the addition of PAC-3 missiles and associated electronics improvements expected in late 1998 or early 1999. Navy Aegis destroyers are expected to be equipped with missiles modified to perform the “lower tier” ATBM role in 1999. Theater high altitude area defense

1  

David Hughes, “BMDO Under Pressure to Set TMD Priorities,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 17, 1994, pp. 49-50.



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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan: Report of the Defense Task Force Appendix D Possibilities for U.S.-Japan Cooperation in Theater Missile Defense BACKGROUND One possible area for U.S.-Japan cooperation in defense technology is theater missile defense (TMD). The object of TMD is to provide protection for targets or regions subject to short- to mid-range ballistic missile attacks. During the Cold War, Japan enjoyed the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella as a safeguard against ballistic missile attack from the Soviet Union. Now that the Cold War has ended, there is some concern that the threat of U.S. nuclear retaliation may not provide adequate protection against ballistic missile attacks (not necessarily nuclear) directed at Japan from elsewhere in the Northeast Asian region. The United States has made significant progress in TMD technology. Japan, due to its relatively small geographic area, is well suited to TMD; indeed, for Japan a TMD system would approximate national missile defense. Thus, both the growing technical feasibility of effective TMD systems and the current and future ballistic missile capabilities of countries in the Northeast Asian region suggest an opportunity for U.S.-Japan defense technology cooperation in this area. Currently, U.S.-Japan discussions are moving forward in the context of a joint study of Japan’s TMD requirements under the leadership of the Japan Defense Agency (JDA). U.S. CAPABILITIES AND PLANS Current U.S. TMD capabilities are limited to terminal defense against short- to medium-range (70- to 2500-km) ballistic missiles provided by the Army’s Patriot PAC-2 missile system. The Patriot missile system and PAC-2 missile have been improved to enhance antitheater ballistic missile (ATBM) capabilities since the Persian Gulf War.1 During the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) enjoyed a high level of funding support for missile defense research as part of the Reagan administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The goal of SDI was a national defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. With the end of the Cold War resulting in a lower threat of a full-scale strategic missile attack as well as the increased focus on theater missile threats that emerged following the Persian Gulf War, the Clinton administration scaled back this effort and refocused missile defense research on ground-based defense against tactical ballistic missiles. Three programs form the core of U.S. near-term plans to introduce more advanced ballistic missile defense systems. Patriot antitactical ballistic missile (ATBM) capabilities will be improved with the addition of PAC-3 missiles and associated electronics improvements expected in late 1998 or early 1999. Navy Aegis destroyers are expected to be equipped with missiles modified to perform the “lower tier” ATBM role in 1999. Theater high altitude area defense 1   David Hughes, “BMDO Under Pressure to Set TMD Priorities,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 17, 1994, pp. 49-50.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan: Report of the Defense Task Force (THAAD) missile systems for ballistic missile defense out to ranges considerably beyond Patriot are expected to reach Army field units in 2001.2 Limited funding and technical uncertainties have delegated three other ballistic missile defense programs to longer-term development. The Corps SAM (surface-to-air missile) program would provide mobile ATBM capabilities to U.S. Army forces. Either sea-based THAAD or the addition of Aegis ATBM missiles with LEAP (lightweight exo-atmospheric projectile) capabilities would give the Navy “upper tier” ATBM capability above the currently planned Aegis ATBM missiles. Finally, several options exist for a boost/ascent-phase ballistic missile intercept capability. 3 THEATER MISSILE DEFENSE IN JAPAN Concern about possible ballistic missile threats in Japan has been prompted primarily by the activities of North Korea.4 In addition to concerns about its efforts to produce nuclear weapons, North Korea is also developing ballistic missile capabilities that would enable it to attack Japan. In May of 1993 North Korea test fired a ballistic missile 500 km into the Sea of Japan. This missile, Nodong-1, is believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and to have a range in excess of 1000 km, allowing it to strike western Japan. While some military experts question whether North Korea will be successful at developing and deploying a ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, it would seem prudent for Japan to consider such a possibility.5 Furthermore, while Japan currently enjoys stable relations with Russia and China, both nations possess nuclear ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan. Japan already possesses or is procuring some rudimentary elements of a TMD system.6 Patriot PAC-2 missile units are currently deployed in the air-defense role. Japan also has Aegis air defense systems and is procuring AWACS aircraft, both of which could be used as part of a TMD system. Nevertheless, each of these weapons systems would require upgrades to perform TMD functions. Furthermore, these assets might not be available for their current missions if they were deployed in a TMD role in the future. Japan also has an indigenous development program known as “Future SAM” under way to develop medium-range surface-to-air missiles to replace U.S.-supplied Hawks currently used in the air-defense role. Future SAM, with production delivery scheduled to begin by the end of the decade and a total cost estimated at $4.8 billion, might play a role in a future TMD system.7 U.S.-Japan collaboration in the ballistic missile defense area goes back to the late 1980s, when several Japanese companies received contracts from DoD as part of the WESTPAC project, an initial study of ballistic missile defense requirements in the Western Pacific. 8 The Japanese government did not officially participate in WESTPAC. Last year U.S. defense officials reportedly discussed a series of four possible TMD “options” with Japanese officials.9 Although the options discussed in 1994 have been superseded by an 2   Ibid. 3   Ibid. 4   Susumu Awanohara, “My Shield or Yours?”, Far Eastern Economic Review, October 14, 1993, p. 22. 5   “North Korean Missile Eyed with Skepticism,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, October 18, 1993, p. 101. 6   Awanohara, op. cit. 7   “North Korean Missile Eyed with Skepticism,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, op. cit. 8   Hironobu Sakamoto, “Japanese Firms Win SDI Research Contracts,” Japan Economic Journal, December 17, 1988. 9   Naoaki Usui, “Japan Tackles Antimissile Options,” Defense News, August 29, 1994, p. 1.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan: Report of the Defense Task Force ongoing joint study, they illustrate a variety of approaches that Japan might take should it decide to deploy a TMD capability. The approaches involve a variety of configurations of Aegis destroyers, Patriot firing units, and AWACS aircraft. Several of the options also include an advanced surveillance radar site and THAAD firing units. Estimated costs range from $4.4 billion to $15.2 billion. In April 1995, the two countries launched a joint study of Japan’s TMD requirements under the leadership of JDA. Should Japan decide to procure TMD capabilities following the study it could provide opportunities for U.S.-Japan cooperation in development and production. One possible area for cooperation would be codevelopment and coproduction of the “upper tier” ATBM missiles for the Aegis destroyers. In addition, the advanced surveillance radar could be developed and produced by the United States with opportunities for participation by Japanese subcontractors. U.S. development of the THAAD missile system is already under way, but some opportunities for Japanese participation in production might exist. U.S. development is already complete and production is under way for both the Patriot missile system and the AWACS aircraft, but Japanese participation in developing and producing the IRST (infrared search and track) targeting system for the AWACS might also be possible. U.S.-JAPAN COOPERATION IN TMD The United States has several important interests at stake in TMD cooperation with Japan, which might not be easy to reconcile as the project moves forward. First, from a basic security standpoint, Japanese deployment of TMD would contribute to the defense of Japan—for which the United States shares responsibility with Japan—and would protect U.S. forces stationed there as well as Japanese citizens. A second interest is possible technological benefits from joint development and related activities. If Japan decides to deploy TMD and wishes to license produce some of the component systems, resulting in a significant transfer of technology to Japan, the United States would likely pursue a reciprocal flow of technology from Japan to the United States.10 This could take place through cooperative RżD on undeveloped systems or insertion of leading-edge Japanese technology into the TMD system. Finally, Japanese procurement would benefit the United States by allowing U.S. development costs to be spread over a larger production volume, and some savings could be realized if agreement can be reached on U.S.-Japan codevelopment of one or more of the component systems. Although cooperation in TMD has a compelling logic and the possible benefits to both sides are clear, there are a number of potential challenges that must be overcome to structure a mutually beneficial program. One set of obstacles on the Japanese side is related to the lack of a political consensus in favor of deploying the system. Achieving such a consensus could be difficult. Despite the possible ballistic missile threat faced by Japan and the existing rudimentary elements of a TMD system, opposition exists to the very concept of TMD. TMD opponents claim that it would violate the parliamentary resolution banning the military use of space.11 Others cite the costs of TMD and suggest Japan would be better off seeking to improve 10   When the possibility of implementing DoD’s TFT initiative through TMD cooperation was raised by the United States early in the discussions of TMD, it was resisted by Japanese officials. The TFT and TMD discussions were “delinked” while Japan considers whether it wishes to deploy a system. See Barbara Wanner, “Washington Pushes for Expanded U.S.-Japan Defense Technology Exchanges,” JEI Report, April 8, 1994, p. 6. 11   Awanohara, op. cit. It should be noted that TMD would work without the use of space given a superior radar system.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan: Report of the Defense Task Force diplomatic and economic ties with North Korea to head off a potential threat.12 A further criticism that might apply in the event of Japanese codevelopment of a TMD system with the United States is that such cooperation would violate the constitutional ban against “collective defense” if the codeveloped system were applied by the United States for TMD activities elsewhere.13 Finally, the necessity of Japanese participation in a TMD system could be questioned if there is a possibility of unilateral deployment by the United States to protect forces stationed in Japan. Another possible set of obstacles in Japan centers on more narrow defense issues. For example, deployment of TMD by Japan would likely require a new level of interservice cooperation within the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). In addition, since defense budgets in Japan are tight and acquisition of TMD would involve considerable expense, it would be more difficult to acquire other systems with strong constituencies within the SDF. As has been the case at times in the United States, procurement decisions could be affected by the attitudes of the various services on the proper relative emphasis on fighters and missile systems for air defense. Also, the attitudes of Japan’s defense industry and the concerned organizations in JDA and MITI could raise complications. To begin with, while Japan can clearly afford TMD should it decide that the capability is a priority for future defense, the program would likely involve substantial purchases of U.S. equipment, even if some component systems are license produced. In a time of tight budgets, other potential Japanese programs—such as long-range transport aircraft or reconnaissance satellites or others—could have more industrial-base appeal and spinoff commercial benefits than TMD. While Japan is anxious to gain access to U.S. military technology, it is also wary of transferring Japanese commercial technology to the United States through defense cooperation.14 Finally, Japanese industry and government remain wary about defense technology cooperation with the United States as a result of the FS-X experience.15 Pursuing a consistent and balanced U.S. strategy toward cooperation could be difficult in light of the various interests and stakeholders involved on both sides. Japan’s resistance to the link between TMD and TFT illustrates one potential complication. At subsequent stages of discussion, U.S. efforts to negotiate a reciprocal technology flow could be opposed or misrepresented. Another possible challenge could arise if a U.S. approach focusing on the security and cost-spreading benefits of Japanese participation results in an agreement that draws opposition within the United States because of a perceived continuation of one-way technology transfers to Japan. The danger is that, as in the FS-X negotiation, the effort to cooperate with Japan could put strains on the overall U.S.-Japan security relationship without advancing other significant U.S. interests. In short, TMD illustrates many of the opportunities and challenges facing the United States in adapting its defense technology relations with Japan and other allies to post-Cold War realities. The joint study of Japanese missile defense needs led by JDA is ongoing as this is written. The advance consultation occurring through this study could contribute a great deal to achieving a high level of mutual understanding between the defense establishments and smooth the way for possible future collaboration. This understanding could be essential when Japan considers whether to deploy the system and if any of the issues outlined above reemerge. On the U.S. side, an appreciation of the interests of the various Japanese players, careful planning, and extensive consultation among the relevant U.S. government agencies and between government 12   Sadao Sakai, “Improbable Missile Defense,” The Japan Times, September 12, 1993, p. 18. 13   Awanohara, op. cit. 14   “Technology Flow to U.S. Raises Concerns,” Nihon Keizai Shimbun, May 9, 1994, p. 1. 15   Awanohara, op. cit.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan: Report of the Defense Task Force and industry will likely be necessary in order for TMD cooperation to contribute to an expanded and revitalized U.S.-Japan alliance.