News Browser: What is the Defense of Japan White Paper?


The cover of the 2021 edition of the “Defense of Japan” white paper is presented with a brush drawing intended to appeal to young readers as well. (Image courtesy of the Ministry of Defense)

The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have about the Defense Ministry’s “Defense of Japan” white paper.

Question: I heard that the “Defense of Japan” white paper has been drafted. What is that?

Answer: This is the Defense Ministry report explaining the current state of defense of Japan, military situations in countries around the world, political issues, etc. The first edition was published in 1970 under the direction of the then head of the Defense Agency and later Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who did so by stating: “Public understanding is essential for defense. . The white paper has been published annually since 1976.

Q: It covers a wide range of topics; how long has it been?

A: The 2021 A4 size edition is just over 500 pages while the first edition is around 100 pages long. The volume of the white paper has grown due to an expansion in security-related fields – such as space and cybersecurity – in addition to China’s rise to military power and Korea’s nuclear and missile development. North.

Q: Why is the defense white paper getting so much attention?

A: It reveals how the Japanese government views the military situation in other countries. The 2019 edition was widely publicized for the inclusion of the government’s first recognition that North Korea had achieved production of miniaturized nuclear devices. Yet the content of the white paper is difficult for the general public to understand. Since the 2020 edition, the ministry has been trying to make the white paper easier to understand, including adding additional QR codes that link to Self-Defense Forces exercise videos.

Q: There are other white papers out there, right?

A: The Japanese government alone publishes more than 40 of them, including the Cabinet Office White Paper on Economy and Public Finance, the Justice Ministry White Paper on Crime, and the Ministry of Justice White Paper. ‘Economy, Trade and Industry on manufacturing. Sector reports began to be referred to as White Papers after World War II, in reference to the British government’s white cover reports submitted to Parliament, referred to as “White Papers”.

Q: Isn’t the Foreign Ministry report called the “Diplomatic Bluebook” and not the White Paper?

A: Although this is one of the documents in the White Paper, it is referred to as the Blue Book as an exception. He apparently imitated the report of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, which has a blue cover. Japan’s Diplomatic Bluebook has been published with a blue cover almost every year.

(Japanese original by Yusuke Kaite, Department of Political News)


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