Joint U.S.-Japanese Military Exercises in Sea of Japan

Joint U.S.-Japanese Military Exercises in Sea of Japan

In the wake of a Chinese military drill and a North Korean missile test, fighter pilots from the United States and Japan participated in a joint training exercise designed as a show of force. The exercise also coincided with a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden. 

The Chinese military drill included a joint flight with Russian bombers. The aircraft flew close to Japanese airspace but did not violate it. Japanese Defense Minister Nobbuo Kishi said the Chinese-Russian joint flight represented an “increased level of provocation” and a threat to the Quad, a military alliance which includes the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.

In a statement, Chinese officials said the flights were over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific. Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said it was a “routine joint strategic air patrol” that has been carried out four times since 2019.

The Japan-U.S. flight occurred just hours after North Korea fired three missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, toward the sea between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Home Islands, amid concerns about another nuclear test by the North. The missiles fell harmlessly in waters just outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

China and Japan

To people in the West, the conflict between Japan and China during World War II is ancient history. But to these two societies which have been around for thousands of years, the wounds are still very fresh.

The 1937 Nanjing Massacre, formerly known as the Rape of Nanking, was not the only atorcity that imperial Japan committed in nationalist China. But it may have been the worst one. Furthermore, the controversy which surrounds it opens wounds on both sides.

Earlier that year, the Japanese occupied Manchuria, after a very long and very bloody battle. The Emperor’s troops then set their sites on Nanjing, the nearly-defenseless capital of nationalist China, with an eye toward revenge. 

The bloodshed might have started on the road to Nanjing, with an infamous contest between two Japanese officers to be the first person to kill 100 people with a sword. Even today, most Japanese historians argue that the story was false and most Chinese historians insist it is true.

In December 1937, after the city fell, Japanese soldiers ran amok, according to most sources. One Christian minister wrote in his diary “Never have I heard or read such brutality. Rape! Rape! Rape! We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet…. People are hysterical… Women are being carried off every morning, afternoon and evening. The whole Japanese army seems to be free to go and come as it pleases, and to do whatever it pleases.”

As for civilian executions, Chinese sources place the number at about 300,000. Most Japanese historians cite much lower figures, as low as 40,000.

The Sea of Japan is more like a very large saltwater lake which is surrounded by the Japanese home islands, the Korean Peninsula, and the Asia mainland. Japan is understandably nervous when the neighborhood bully plays in its own backyard. Tensions are already high between China and other nations, including the United States, over that nation’s claim to the South China Sea, which is further to the south. Additional saber-rattling, especially since China is a nuclear power, is the last thing anyone in Japan or the United States wants.

Contractors in Japan

In response to the Chinese menace, Japan has beefed up its defenses lately. However, its military infrastructure still depends heavily on American resources. 

American servicemembers have a bad reputation in Japan, mostly because the United States devastated the country from the air in 1945. So, contractors carry much of the load, in terms of construction, weapons maintenance, and security.

Many of the military installations in Japan are badly outdated. If war with China comes, it will be too late for upgrades. So, runways need lengthening, barracks need modernization, and harbor facilities need expanding now. Contractors usually handle most of the work in these areas. The Seabies and the Army Corps of Engineers usually focus on different projects.

Usually, contractors are onsite construction supervisors. These individuals might be the most important piece of the construction project puzzle. Supervisors are the connection between stateside planners and onsite workers. Furthermore, supervisors are usually exclusively responsible for delivering the project on time and under budget.

In World War II, and for many years thereafter, the world’s armies depended mostly on manpower. If enough troops charge up that hill, sooner or later, someone will get to the top. Today, the world’s armies rely on firepower. Superior weapons defeat superior numbers every time.

Drones and other sophisticated weapons require lots of TLC. Maintenance workers must not only understand all the moving parts in these weapons. They must understand how all these parts are supposed to work together. Contractors, many of whom worked at the companies that developed and built these weapons, have the required expertise.

Bullets are not flying right now in Japan, and thanks to the help of private military contractors, they might not fly again, at least for a while. However, construction projects and military installations still require live security. Vandals, thieves, and aggressive protestors are a constant threat.

Contractors, many of whom are former law enforcement officers, know how to provide this security without being overbearing. That is a fine line that many people, especially regular servicemembers, are not able to walk.

Injury Compensation Available

When contractors are injured overseas, their medical bills are often overwhelming. On top of these bills, these contractors usually must pay substantial transportation bills. Serious injury victims in remote locations usually require aerial medevac to a hospital in another country, or even another continent.

Most families live paycheck to paycheck. They can ill afford to pay these bills, especially if their primary or only wage-earner is not working at the time.

Usually, the Defense Base Act insurance company pays these medical bills directly. Most injured victims and their families never see a statement.

This requirement only applies to reasonably necessary medical expenses. What is reasonable to a doctor or to a victim is often unreasonable to an insurance company adjuster or lawyer. A lawyer is a strong voice for victims in these disputes. Frequently, our lawyers partner with outside professionals, like medical experts, to bolster claims a procedure was medically necessary.

If the insurance company drags its feet, which is often the case, an attorney usually arranges for victims to receive medical treatment without paying anything upfront. So, victims get the treatment they need when they need it, and the billing gets sorted out later.

For more information about lost wage replacement and other DBA benefits, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A.