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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s first visit to Washington as leader on January 13, 2023 marked a major transformation in the US-Japan alliance. Japan’s new security reforms and Tokyo’s proactive response to the Ukraine crisis were warmly received in Washington. They highlight a more determined Japan to strengthen its own defense capabilities and contribute to regional deterrence, and reveal new potential for leveraging the bilateral partnership to address serious challenges to the international order.

Not surprisingly, US-Japan relations moved apace in the weeks and days leading up to the Japanese leader’s arrival, with major policy announcements and bilateral agreements. In late 2022, the Japanese government revised its National Security Strategy (NSS), National Defense Strategy, and Defense Development Program. An important promise permeates the revised strategy documents: that Tokyo is ready to mobilize its comprehensive national power to face the challenges arising from the most severe security environment in the past 70 years.

At the start of the new year, Yasutoshi Nishimura, head of Japan’s Ministry of Commerce, Economy and Industry, traveled to Washington to sign agreements to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security and collaborate in eradicating forced labor in global supply chains with US Trade Representative. Just a fortnight before Kishida’s arrival, the Security Advisory Committee (2+2 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense) issued a joint statement praising a modernized alliance attuned to the current era of strategic competition and ready to move in synchrony to implement a shared commitment to integrated deterrence. A week of high-level US-Japan diplomacy yielded commitments to improve Allied defense posture in Japan’s southwestern islands and to cultivate a more agile US Navy littoral regiment in Okinawa. It also expanded Article 5 of the security treaty to apply US defense commitments to space and consolidated the bilateral partnership in space exploration. Agreements materialized in supply chain defense and security R&D as well.

To top it all off, the Biden-Kishida joint statement immediately following the summit noted not only that the “security alliance has never been stronger,” but that allies “strongly oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion.” , anywhere in the world” (emphasis added). This captures an ongoing and portentous transformation: while bilateral security commitments remain the anchor of this partnership, the United States and Japan increasingly look to the alliance as an instrument to project their combined influence to promote stability and the rule of law. in a turbulent international system. This includes efforts to preserve peace in the diplomatically choppy waters of the Taiwan Strait. The shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically expanded the geographic boundaries of US-Japan strategic coordination, as Tokyo was one of the first to publicly condemn the violence and join the international coalition to punish Putin’s war of aggression. Ukraine left an indelible mark on the Japanese public mindset and its government during the very year that the country’s general security and defense policies were being revised. He imbued a strong awareness that only nations prepared to defend themselves can hope to muster broad and sustained international support.

The Biden-Kishida summit reaffirmed the strategic convergence between the two nations. The specter of three revisionist powers helped focus their agenda: North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats; China’s use of coercion, not international law, to advance expansive territorial claims; and Russia’s full-scale war in Europe. Even so, Japan’s response to the adverse international environment stands out. Of the US allies in Asia, Tokyo has been the most willing to explicitly denounce Chinese behavior that undermines the rules-based order, and the newly revised National Security Strategy went further, naming China as Japan’s greatest strategic challenge. . One of Kishida’s main objectives in coming to Washington at this juncture was to explain and gain support from Japan’s main ally, how his government intends to operationalize a much more ambitious strategic agenda in defense, diplomacy and development.

Not surprisingly, bilateral talks focused on defence. Under Kishida, Japan eliminated the decades-old informal cap on defense spending at 1% of GDP. Instead, over the next five years, Japan’s defense spending will target the 2% mark, both by reviewing what can be included in the defense budget (e.g., Coast Guard operations and protecting critical infrastructure) and by through a 50% expansion in core defense spending—a considerable increase. A key innovation in the new NSS was Japan’s adoption of counterattack capabilities, providing for the first time in the postwar era authorization for its Self-Defense Forces to respond to an attack striking deep into enemy territory. The barrier to the use of force remains high – Japan’s survival must be at stake, no other means of response must be available and only minimal use of force can be employed. But Japan’s ability to wield a spear to defend itself will strengthen deterrence and transform the alliance. American intelligence and reconnaissance support will be essential to the success of a Japanese missile counterattack. More importantly, greater integration of command and control structures will be required as Japan’s power projection capabilities grow. That hasn’t happened yet and will be a real test for alliance modernization.

Given the novelty and strategic implications of Japan’s security reforms, they received the most prominence in the Biden-Kishida summit assessment. But other equally important priorities emerged in Kishida’s political speech delivered at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. On the one hand, Japan’s improved defense posture will generate more proactive diplomacy in ways that make Japan a more valuable ally for the United States. Kishida’s trip to Washington was part of a G-7 tour of five member countries in preparation for the G-7 leaders’ summit in Japan in May. The G-7 emerged rejuvenated from its response to the Ukraine crisis, and Japan’s engagement with Europe reached new heights. Last year, Kishida was the first Japanese prime minister to attend a NATO summit. On their diplomatic trip this month, Japan and Britain reached a historic reciprocal access agreement to facilitate the deployment of troops for joint training and exercises, enhancing Japan’s network of defense partnerships. In his speech at SAIS, the prime minister predicted a strong diplomatic boost in Japan’s own neighborhood with an updated Free and Open Indo-Pacific policy and a special summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations later in the year, and greater assurances of his government’s willingness to resolve bilateral issues with South Korea in the short term. These will be the new yardsticks for measuring the success of Japan’s diplomatic reach in this new political era after Shinzo Abe’s rule.

The visiting prime minister was keen to appeal to the Global South, driving home the message that diverse values ​​do not overshadow the common goal of protecting a world order based on rules, not naked power. But to earn their trust, Japan and others must deliver on the developing world’s priorities in food and energy security, debt sustainability and health. The question for like-minded nations is whether they can deliver development and economic engagement. And so Kishida addressed an important message to an audience of one: a plea for the United States to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) project. Kishida noted that even a successful Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will fall short of meeting regional demands for comprehensive economic engagement. This caveat is certainly not new. Japanese authorities have repeatedly handed it over and American colleagues feel they have heard it ad nauseam. But the fact remains that trade liberalization is the one area where the United States and Japan have not been able to move in sync. Their closer alignment in defense and diplomacy only makes this contrast stronger. The context of Kishida’s TPP request is important, as here is a leader who has overcome a long-standing political taboo (expansion of defense spending), asking his counterpart to unlock possibilities that would result from achieving a similar feat (updating the commercial leadership).

This new chapter in US-Japan relations is just beginning. The hard work of developing a more effective command and control structure and devising an effective division of labor among allies to meet regional contingencies still lies ahead. A shared determination to face the growing challenges that authoritarian powers pose to the rules-based system does not resolve the myriad complications of a coordinated approach in the future. An example is the technological competition with China. Notably, there was no word during Kishida’s visit about Tokyo’s willingness to tighten export controls in China to emulate the US’s new restrictive approach. And Kishida pointed out that maintaining an open free trade system remains the last frontier in the US-Japan alliance.

What was Japan biggest mistake in ww2?

Why did Japan fail in World War II? Japan was blind to its own weakness The most serious long-term strategic failure was Japan’s complete inability to understand its own industrial weakness and the overwhelming industrial power of its enemies. Japan had no guarantees or guarantees that Germany would declare war on the United States.

Why was Pearl Harbor a mistake by the Japanese?

But the attack on Pearl Harbor failed in its aim of completely destroying the Pacific Fleet. Japanese bombers missed oil tanks, ammunition locations and repair facilities, and no US aircraft carriers were present during the attack.

Did Japan ever apologize for Pearl Harbor?

Emperor Hirohito informed General MacArthur that he was prepared to formally apologize to General MacArthur for Japan’s actions during World War II – including an apology for the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. This may interest you : The United States vs. the World: What we can learn from each other’s elections.

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Are the US and Japan in an alliance?

The Japan-US Alliance has become stronger than ever under the trust between its leaders. To see also : $275 million in additional U.S. military aid for Ukraine – U.S. Department of State. In light of this, Japan and the US are further enhancing their deterrence and response capabilities in line with the Peace and Security Guidelines and Legislation.

What is the name of the alliance between the United States and Japan? The US-Japan Alliance (æ¥ç±³åç, Nichi-Bei DÅmei) is a military alliance between Japan and the United States of America, as codified in the Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which was signed for the first time in 1951, entered into force in 1952 and was amended in 1960.

When did the US and Japan become allies?

Normal diplomatic relations were re-established in 1952, when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, who had overseen the post-war Allied occupation of Japan since 1945, disbanded. To see also : Albania’s example for the United States—and the world—. The Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States was signed in 1960.

Who is Japan’s biggest ally?

The ties between the US and Japan go far beyond the cultural ties and shared cultural values ​​that have emerged between us. The United States is Japan’s invaluable and irreplaceable partner and, indeed, our closest ally.

Why is Japan allied with US?

Bilateral Relations Japan and the United States are strong allies that share core values ​​and strategic interests, with the Japan-US Security Agreements at the heart.

Why did the US want to engage with Japan? Under the terms of the treaty, Japan would protect stranded sailors and open two ports for resupplying and supplying American ships: Shimoda and Hakodate.

When did Japan and US become allies?

Normal diplomatic relations were re-established in 1952, when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, who had overseen the post-war Allied occupation of Japan since 1945, disbanded. The Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States was signed in 1960.

Why are Japan and US allies?

For the last seven decades, Japan, which gave up the right to wage war after its defeat in World War II, has enjoyed the protection of the United States. In exchange for its promise to defend the country, the US obtains bases that allow it to maintain a large military presence in East Asia.

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Is Japan a US ally today?

Political relationship: Japan and the United States are strong allies who share core values ​​and strategic interests, with Japan-US security arrangements at the center.

Is Japan at peace with us? Japan signed a Peace Treaty with the Allied Powers on this day. With the entry into force of this Treaty, Japan will have no effective means to exercise its inherent right of self-defense because it has been disarmed.

Who is Japan’s main ally?

The ties between the US and Japan go far beyond the cultural ties and shared cultural values ​​that have emerged between us. The United States is Japan’s invaluable and irreplaceable partner and, indeed, our closest ally.

Why are Japan and US allies now?

SOLITARY ALLY. For the last seven decades, Japan, which gave up the right to wage war after its defeat in World War II, has enjoyed the protection of the United States. In exchange for its promise to defend the country, the US obtains bases that allow it to maintain a large military presence in East Asia.

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