JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.


By Dario Leone -Apr 22 2019

JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.

Two of the emergency landings involved faults in the F-35 that later crashed.

Takeshi Iwaya, Japan’s Minister of Defense, has assured acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that Tokyo will continue to buy more F-35s despite the crash of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Lightning II belonging to 302 Hikotai from Misawa Air Base on Apr. 9, 2019.

“At this point, we have no specific information that would lead to a change in procurement plans,” Iwaya was quoted as saying.

Japan has received 13 F-35As so far, of which four were built in the U.S. and the rest assembled in Japan from American components. The government plans to procure six more this fiscal year. Going forward, Tokyo will stick to importing finished jets, as it is more cost-effective.

But the recent crash could derail these plans, the Nikkei says.

The mishap aircraft, F-35A #79-8705 (construction number AX-05), is the first Japanese-assembled F-35A, and was rolled out in Nagoya on Jun. 5, 2017.

The stealth fighter crashed while on a training flight 135km away from Misawa Air Base. It was flying over the Pacific Ocean then.

Little is known about the crash as both the US and Japan scour the Pacific off the northeast coast of Japan to look for wreckage of the jet. The pilot, who is still missing, had called for the mission to end before his plane went down. Should the incident turn out to have been caused by a defect in the plane, Tokyo could face calls to stop buying them.

According to the Defense Ministry, five of Japan’s 13 F-35As have been involved in seven emergency landings between June 2017 and January 2019. Two of the incidents involved faults in the plane that later crashed. Four of the planes that experienced problems had been assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under a partnership with Lockheed Martin. The other jet was made in the US.

“Unplanned returns to base were made after the planes reported issues with systems relating to fuel, hydraulics and other parts,” Japanese daily Mainichi quoted Iwaya as saying. “Excluding one case of an error by the aircraft’s monitoring systems, the remaining six saw the fighters inspected and parts replaced before they were confirmed safe.”

While the jets were inspected each time to confirm they were safe to fly, the ministry is checking again to see if there might be any links to the accident.

The US has not disclosed details of the F-35’s state-of-the-art technology to other countries, and there are worries that China or Russia could get their hands on the wreckage and unlock some of its secrets, including the jet’s capability to shoot down ballistic missiles. This is among the reasons why Washington is sending a deep-sea search vessel to the site of the incident to help find the wreckage.

If the cause of the crash turns out to involve sensitive information about the plane, the U.S. could be reluctant to share it with even its close ally Japan.

Source: The Aviation Geek Club “JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.”

Note: This is Aviation Geek Club’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

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Russia-China Alliance, Marriage of Convenience


Russia-China Rider-horse Alliance Failed
In the 1950s, there was a treaty alliance between Russia’s predecessor and China. The treaty had a term of 30 years, but the alliance broke and the two nations became enemies within a decade.

Perhaps it was an alliance described by Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council. Blank points out, “every alliance has a horse and a rider.” In the 1950s, the Soviet Union regarded itself as the rider as it was much richer and stronger than China. However, China did not want to remain Soviet Union’s horse when it had grown stronger. It wanted to be the rider too. It began to strive to grab from the Soviet Union the leadership of their socialist camp. The fight for leadership broke the alliance in spite of a long-term treaty of alliance between them.

Marriage of Convenience
Some analysts regard Russia-China alliance as a “marriage of convenience”, a marriage based on mutual needs instead of affection. The needs are obvious as both countries are under US threat. However, in a marriage the two parties are equal. China has a much larger economy and its military is growing stronger than Russia, but China treats Russia as an equal partner. China is wise to pay attention to refraining from regarding itself as rider and Russia as horse. Its president Xi Jinping even wants Russian President Putin to be leader of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) they have jointly set up though China is much richer and stronger than Russia. Putin rejects China’s proposal and wants China to be the leader. As a result SCO is led by Russia and China jointly. Such mutual respect enables a marriage of convenience to remain strong and difficult to break by external pressure.

In addition, a marriage of convenience, though not sound as a marriage based on mutual affection, may have some firm basis for the marriage, which usually is mutual interests. If the couple are both good and their interests are compatible and even facilitate each other as they grow closer due to the alliance, mutual affection may develop gradually. That is the case of Russia-China alliance. Long-term enmity may be turned into friendship due to mutual respect and trust built up through the alliance..

The US Has No Allies to Counter Russia-China alliance
While China has won over another world military power Russia to form an alliance that will assist each other to resist the US militarily, the US only has the allies it has obligations to protect but no allies to assist it in attacking China or Russia.

US former President Obama tried to form an Asian iron triangle of US, Japan and South Korea but failed as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had upset South Korea with his visit to Yasukuni Shrine. In fact, South Korea could not help the US in its war with China but Japan will be able to if it has further developed its military.

Obama’s pivot to Asia is mainly an alliance with Japan to contain China. Japan may become an ally comparable to China’s ally Russia. Japan is willing to take an active part to join force with the US due to its history of invading China and inflicting Chinese people with great misery. Together Obama and Abe had formed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to contain China economically. Obama’s successor Trump, however, withdrew from TPP in spite of Abe’s strong opposition. Trump, in addition, plans to start a trade war with Japan. As a result, Japan is now active to improve relations with China. It is now making great efforts to establish with China Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN + 3 Free Trade Area.

The US is pushing Japan to China’s arms and will thus lose its only possible ally. Its European allies rely on its military protect and are unwilling to increase their military spending for their own defense, let alone help the US fighting China.

The US has no one to complain as its alliance with others is rider-horse alliance. It certainly cannot hope that its horse will protect it.

Can the US Be a Third Party that Disrupts the “Marriage” with an “Affair”?
The United States regards China as its only rival for world hegemony. As China is rising while the US is declining, normally, the US has to form alliance with some other countries to counter Russia-China alliance or instead make efforts to break Russia-China alliance. US President Donald Trump has tried to improve relations with Russia and thus drive a wedge between Russia and China but has encountered strong opposition at home.

Will Trump succeed in leverage Russia against China?

The question will be answered in my next post.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.


Safety Worries due to Japanese Crash Delays Singaporean Order for F-35


TOC says in its report “Mindef Singapore to ensure safety of F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets prior to acquisition, in the aftermath of Japanese crash” today, “Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef) assured that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters will be ‘safe to operate’ prior to obtaining them.”

The cause of the recent April-10 crash of a Japanese F-35 remains unknown as the crashed warplane lies down 1,500 meters under water and its pilot has disappeared. However, we can be sure that there was problems in the crashed F-35 as before the crash Hosomi, the pilot of the crashed F-35, “instructed the other pilots participating in the exercise to terminate the training portion of the flight, according to Defense News.”

Hosomi certainly found some problem that caused the crash. If Hosomi has been found alive he, as an experienced Japanese pilot, might tell what problem he has found in the crashed F-35 and caused him to instructed other pilots to terminate the exercise.

It is obvious that F-35 has quite serious problems so that the program of its development was $163 billion in excess of budget and seven years behind schedule. However, those are not big problems as the US is rich and can afford such excessive spending and it has no urgent need to use F-35 to start any war of aggression.

However, killing experienced pilots will be a serious problem. Hosomi’s inability to escape to safety when he found some problem indicated some problem with F-35’s ejection system. It seems the US has to ground all the F-35s to fix the ejection system in order to ensure pilot safety as good pilots like Hosomi are more valuable than F-35s.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on TOC’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2019/04/15/mindef-singapore-to-ensure-safety-of-f-35-joint-strike-fighter-jets-prior-to-acquisition-in-the-aftermath-of-japanese-crash/


Japan confirms MSDF leader and destroyer will participate in Chinese Navy’s fleet review


Kyodo Apr 11, 2019

Japan will send the head of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and a destroyer to the Chinese Navy’s fleet review in late April to strengthen defense exchanges, the Japanese government confirmed Thursday.

MSDF Chief of Staff Hiroshi Yamamura will make a four-day trip from April 22 to attend the naval review on April 23 in waters off the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, according to the Defense Ministry, becoming the first MSDF chief to visit the country in five years.

Bilateral meetings between Yamamura and other participating countries’ naval chiefs are being arranged, the ministry and the MSDF said.

Japan will send the MSDF destroyer Suzutsuki with some 250 personnel on board, the first such dispatch to China since December 2011, as part of mutual naval visits that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in October to resume.

The fleet review will take place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Navy.

MSDF destroyers and Chinese warships made mutual visits from 2007 to 2011, but the exchanges came to a halt in 2012 when Tokyo brought the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China, under state control, straining bilateral ties.

Source: Japan Times “Japan confirms MSDF leader and destroyer will participate in Chinese Navy’s fleet review”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Trade War United Front against US Includes Japan, Europe


Chinese leaders had the vision to see the looming trade war so that they began early their efforts to form a united front against the US.

Japan had tried hard to improve relations with China since US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but was always rejected by China. However, in order to form a united front for resistance of trade war, in late January 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declared China’s intention to improve ties with Japan.

Warm diplomacy soon intensified between China and Japan resulting in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s friendly visit to Beijing from October 24 to 26, 2018.

I said in my post on October 14 before the visit that it was US pressures that had pushed China and Japan into each other’s arms.

Now, Trump’s trade war with China seems to end soon. EU and Japan will be his next targets. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Italy and France followed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s summit with EU leaders have enabled China to win over Europe to form a united front against the US. It is indeed bizarre that the US fails to see the trend of strong defense it will encounter to its trade war attacks at EU and Japan.

Bloomberg’s report “As China Trade War Cools, Japan Braces for Its Clash With Trump” on April 11 foresees the strong resistance Trump will encounter in his trade war with Japan.

The report says that to strengthen Japan’s position Japan has signed trade agreements with EU so that China’s united front with EU has already included Japan. In addition Japan and other 10 members of TPP have established TPP excluding the US.

The report says, “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is desperate to avoid tariffs or quotas on lucrative auto exports, while Trump wants to crack open Japan’s agricultural market and reduce a $60 billion trade deficit.” However, Japan has cheap source of agricultural products from TPP members and in addition from ASEAN if ASEAN + 3 (Japan, South Korea and China) free trade area is successfully established. Import tariffs will be zero or very low from TPP and the free trade area. Japan has been the major obstacle to the establishment of the free trade area. Now, Japan has become enthusiastic, the free trade area will soon be a reality.

China’s further opening-up and the success of China’s Road and Belt initiative (BRI) will expand Japan’s market of cars and other industrial products in China and Silk Road belt. When China-Japan ties began to improve, Japan expressed its interest to join China’s BRI. Now, US trade war against Japan will force Japan to take active part in BRI.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regards united front as one of its three magic weapons in its war of resistance against Japan and civil war. Now, it seems that united front seems to be CCP’s magic weapon again in China’s trade war with the US.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Bloomberg’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-04-11/as-china-trade-war-cools-japan-braces-for-its-clash-with-trump.


Terrifying: Japan Used Biological Weapons on China During World War II


Some nearly forgotten history.

April 5, 2019

by War Is Boring

Japan has gone down in popular memory as the original victim of weapons of mass destruction, after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

But it was China that was the real first victim of WMDs in World War II—and the perpetrator was Japan itself. Tokyo’s biological weapons killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese. And their murders still matter today.

It’s true that other nations—including Germany, America and Britain—maintained their own chemical and bio-weapons programs during the war. Mussolini’s Italy even employed mustard gas in Ethiopia in 1935. Yet fear of retaliation deterred the major powers from using chemical or biological weapons against each other.

But Imperial Japan had no such fear because backward China had no WMDs and no other means of massive retaliation. Moreover, Tokyo viewed the Chinese as a racially inferior enemy—one that foolishly resisted a massive Japanese army that tried for nearly a decade to subdue China.

Bio-warfare seemed one way out of China’s unseemly quagmire.

Unit 731, Japan’s biological warfare program, was formed in 1932 under the leadership of the notorious Gen. Shiro Ishii, chief medical officer of the Japanese army. Based in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, Unit 731 operated under the cover name “Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army.”

But Unit 731 didn’t prevent epidemics—it spread them. Nazi medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, performed by monsters such as Josef Mengele, have been thoroughly documented.

Less well known are the experiments that Japan performed on adult male Chinese prisoners of war and political prisoners, as well as women and children. The captives were injected with diseases such as cholera and gonorrhea, or chained to stakes while aircraft dropped plague bombs.

There was also the vivisection. “Human experimentation gave researchers their first chance to actually examine the organs of a living person at will to see the progress of a disease,” according to Hal Gold’s book Unit 731 Testimony.

“Vivisection was a new experience for the doctors of Japan,” Gold writes. “One former unit member explained that ‘the results of the effects of infection cannot be obtained accurately once the person dies because putrefactive bacteria set in. Putrefactive bacteria are stronger than plague germs. So, for obtaining accurate results, it is important whether the subject is alive or not.’”

As atrocities go, or as much as sane human beings can rank them, this doesn’t sound any worse than Nazi experiments. But unlike the Nazis, Imperial Japan actually weaponized its biological horrors.

Cholera was dumped into wells used by the Chinese populace. Fleas were carefully collected, infected with plague and then dropped in aerial bombs over Chinese cities and villages.

“The air team and those who knew how to handle bacteria would get into a plane together and spread germs over a village or other areas of population concentration,” said a Unit 731 member cited in Gold’s book. “After that, the area would be examined for the effectiveness of the attack.”

“With plague, fleas were used as a carrier and transported in a ceramic bomb,” the unit member added. “At first, glass bombs were tried, but they did not work well. Rats weigh about 600 grams. They were infected with plague, then they were infested with 3,000 to 6,000 fleas each and loaded into the ceramic bomb. When the bomb is dropped and breaks, the fleas scatter.”

Half a million or more Chinese died in these attacks.

It would be satisfying to say that the perpetrators of Unit 731 were punished for their crimes. But there’s no happy ending here. In 1945, Ishii and the other members of Unit 731 made a deal with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the U.S. government: they would turn over their research to the Americans—not the Soviets—in return for immunity from prosecution.

Even compared to the sordid dealings that allowed Nazi scientists and spies to trade their expertise for immunity from war crimes trials, this was repugnant.

Some might dismiss Japan’s bio-war against China as history from a past century. But that history still resonates. Memories of Japanese atrocities still linger in Asia. And as China and Japan appear on the brink of conflict over disputed islands in the East China Sea, it’s worth remembering that this time, it’s China and not Japan that has weapons of mass destruction.

Should Chinese ever contemplate the use of nuclear weapons against Japan, you can be sure the ghosts of Unit 731 will be at their side.

This article by Michael Peck originally appeared at War is Boring in 2013.

Source: National Interest “Terrifying: Japan Used Biological Weapons on China During World War II”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


No Quad to Contain China


US President Trump has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that aims to contain China economically. Instead, he is enthusiastic in establishing satisfactory personal ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping in order that his country may better access to China’s huge market. As a result, there has been no military pivot to Asia to contain China either since Trump came to office.

In order to keep on containing China so as to please the large number of US elite hostile to the rise of China, Trump’s previous secretary of state Rex Tillerson wanted to replace Obama’s pivot to Asia with the Quad of the US, Australia, India and Japan to contain China.

However, according to Asia Times’ article “The Quad’ is fading into obscurity”, Australia does not want to hurt its trade relations with China while India has persisted in its non-alliance doctrine, only the US and Japan remain in the Quad to counter China now.

In fact Japan has been seeking improvement of ties with China as shown in its enthusiasm in Abe’s visit to Beijing and Xi’s visit to Tokyo soon. There is no Quad to contain China at all now.

The writer of the article worries what will be done if China takes Taiwan by force for reunification of China.

Will the US fight for Taiwan alone without the assistance from its Quad allies?

In a war between China and the US, China will surely has Russia’s support but who will support the US? The US will be really isolated in the war but no one is to blame. The US pursues isolationism and gets isolation.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asia Times article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/the-quad-is-fading-into-obscurity/.