Japan’s Multi-Domain Defense Force: The Space, Cyber, and Electromagnetic Domains

Focus Asia September, 2021, pp.11

This article sheds light on Japan’s “Multi-Domain Defense Force” formulated in the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) as well as the Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP) (FY2019-FY2023) approved by the Cabinet decision of December 18, 2018. In the NDPG, the Ministry of Defense sets forth a concept of “cross-domain operations” in which the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) conduct operations not only in the conventional domains (land, sea, and air), but also in new domains (space, cyberspace, and electromagnetic). The Japanese government thus decided to increase its annual defense budget for the fiscal year 2020 to create its Multi-Domain Defense Force in preparation for the cross-domain operations. Why does Japan seek to improve these three new security priorities? This article aims to clarify the nature of these three defense priorities in Japan’s security policy to adapt to today’s rapidly changing security environment.

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