As F-35 Fighters Fly High in the Sky, so Does the Cost

It is just about psychology: let us show you the capabilities

Photo by UX Gun on Unsplash

It sounds as if it is the excited voice of an eleven-year old boy in the cinema complex and looks like a making of the film set. Packed with thousands of spectators waiting for the exhibition impatiently, the long beach of Makuhari, Chiba, hosts the air circus every year. The stage is full of stunt acts which shake the up-beating hearts of young aviators in the camouflage jackets and the military hats. Those hats fit tight into forward-looking heads with a knit star symbol of Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF). Among those in fully dressed uniform, a couple of brave men grow into adults to serve the country and someday run the military exercise on the real mother ship in the port of Yokosuka, the south of Tokyo. The crowds of Japanese there saw the largest warship, Izumo, put herself into the sea in a spring day. Toward that day, the Japanese government announced that Japan increase the ownership of F-35 fighter jets to 147, of which a dozen of them the upgraded sister ship, Koga, is set to accommodate. This illustrates that the military spending in defense will continue at the steady pace and that the military spending exceeds far above a rational judgment. What is going on this political tool exhibition?

The taxpayers of Japanese residents have been pouring the surplus into the bottomless well. The well of SDF is very deep in the pocket whereas the F-35 fighter jets will fly high in a triangle formation into the blue sky above the commercial flight. Japan plans to spend $245 bn over the next five years — an 11% up over the past five years. This annual spending of roughly $49 bn is a huge spending of tax revenues as the justification is open to debate. The question of identifying Japan’s enemy and rival is arbitrary. It is a public policy based on psychological effect. The rational of spending decision is on not actual physical weapons but more about psychology. An unscientific chemical thrust is this: let us show you what we could do to you. Who is a military rival of Japan? The primary target, as diplomats and academicians often say it, is China. It is what America turns their eyes on.

This is a very expensive war simulation game. From the mid-1990’s, the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) ran war games to consider a sudden Chinese attack in the Pacific. The abrupt attack zone targets the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Around those areas, the Japanese warplanes scrambled 476 times in the first nine months of 2018. This urgent alternation derives from the psychological reaction on potential war: what if it did? The anticipatory judgment causes SDF to scramble over the islands. Who knows? Scramble formation can be just a group of flying off the ordinary route or could be just an exercise in the battle game. It is not so good to provoke the public with mysterious figures to overstate the situation and distort the mindset of the citizens. All in all the potential mental threat asks for huge budgets on an enhancement of the military capabilities. That is fearful and damaging on our lives.

A lot of these ideas lead to an ever-lasting misuse of tax revenues. The military budget merely pleases the winners of this psychological warfare game; the national defense force and the central government of Japan. We are fearful of the unknown growing empire for sure but the constant imagination becomes so big and consistent that it blurs the reality and the unlikely warfare will cast the dark shadows in our minds. The unstoppable arm race between two countries demonstrates that all of a sudden Japanese military is becoming offensive. The chief result of possessing F-35 fighter jets is the air show with the excitements of the youngsters.

An eleven-year old boy becomes 22 years-old one day and remembers the heart beats from the acrobatic act of warplanes on the beach. Next year his memory will be reinforced with the blockbuster film, “Top Gun II” starred by Tom Cruise. Even the new film sets a record success with a similar drama in the air show, but the important thing to remember is the actual spending on the military exceeds far above the bearable level of taxpayers in Japan. My personal question would be something like; what does the young boy want to be, Maverick or a SDF naval aviator? The answer is self-explanatory for an eleven-year-old boy.

Taught marketing @ universities in Tokyo for a decade, ex-I-banker & mgmt consultant @ Kurt Salm (Accenture Technologies now), Georgia Tech educated