News / USA

New Security Policy Fosters US-Japan Alliance

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, July 1, 2014.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives for a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, July 1, 2014.
Victor Beattie

The United States has welcomed Japan’s decision to adopt a new policy of "collective self-defense," allowing its military to engage in a wider range of operations.  Despite criticism from China and South Korea, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman sees the policy revision as fostering the U.S. "re-balance" to the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Tuesday welcomed the new policy announcement, saying Washington has followed the extensive discussions within Japan in defending allies and participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

"As you know, the U.S./Japan alliance is one of our most important security partnerships.  And, we value efforts by Japan to strengthen that security cooperation and also value Japan’s efforts to maintain openness and transparency throughout this decision-making process that’s left up to this new policy," said Harf.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called it an important step for Japan as it seeks to make a greater contribution to regional and global peace and security.  The new policy, he said, also complements our ongoing efforts to modernize our alliance through the revision of bilateral guidelines for defense cooperation.  

Last October, both countries agreed to revise 1997 guidelines with the goal Hagel said of a “more balanced and effective alliance, where our two militaries are full partners working side-by-side…and with regional partners to enhance peace and security.”

Japan has been operating under a U.S.-drafted postwar constitution that includes Article 9, which renounces war and the threat, and use, of force to settle disputes, and states that land, sea and air forces, along with war potential, will never been maintained.

China, which is involved in a territorial dispute with Japan, said Tokyo is challenging the post-war order and raising regional tensions.  The move is also opposed by some in South Korea, which, along with China, was a major victim of Japanese colonial aggression in the 20th century.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said Tuesday there is no concern the move will inflame tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Now, there is a lot of work left to do inside the Japanese government on this, on this policy change that they’re seeking.  It’s a democracy.  They’ve got a Diet [parliament] that needs to vote on this.  I mean, there’s a lot of work left to do," Kirby reiterated.

"We, frankly, think it’s a very, encouraging sign and will help inform the revision of the defense guidelines, a bilateral defense guidelines that we have with Japan.  So, it helps inform that process, which as you know is ongoing.  So, for us, we find it very, very helpful. And there is not going to be, there is no reason from our perspective to believe or to worry that it would, that it’d make tensions worse.  And, quite the contrary, we think it will help with security and stability in the region."

Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum security analysis think tank, says in no way is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe turning away from Japan’s commitment to what they call "proactive pacifism:"
"The Japanese position is very much that this is a much-needed change that will allow them to more actively contribute to regional security and to work with allies and partners in a very narrowly constrained set of circumstances. And it’s always conditioned legally, politically and, I think, most importantly publicly.  By no means is Japan making a radical shift in its policies," he noted.

Glosserman said the United States has pressed Japan for decades to do more in the context of regional security.  He said Japan has been reluctant to do so given its postwar constitution and skepticism of military force for anything other than defense of the homeland.

He said the United States faces many new threats:

"And, I think we’ve recognized that our partners are capable of contributing more than they have in the past, not because the U.S. is disengaging, but again because I think the Japanese, the Koreans, the Australians are far more capable and have they own abilities to respond to certain threats," stated Glosserman. "And we would be remiss and, frankly, foolish to not try to tap those abilities in ways that make the most sense and are the most efficient."

Glosserman said the U.S. re-balance to Asia-Pacific is premised on strengthening relations with allies."This, actually, is a form of the re-balance.  It is an attempt to modernize and update the Japan/US alliance.  So, it fits very much within the framework of the re-balance generally," he said.

China’s state-run People’s Daily calls the Japanese policy change a "dangerous move that will lead to security worries for other Asian countries."  The New York Times quotes analysts who say the policy change will make it easier for Japan to forge new military alliances with nations like the Philippines, who have similar territorial disputes with China.

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Comment Sorting
by: CNNReader4
July 02, 2014 4:57 PM
Americans will get backfire. They forget that British and French used to militarize Nazi Germany to attack Soviet Union. The result? Nazi Germany occupied France and bombed Britain first.
Japanese scholars told me Japan's real enemy is U.S. but not China. China did nothing in history to harm Japan except expelling Japanese invasion out of Korea(Failures of Japanese invasion of Korea in 7th & 16th century) . But it is Americans who:
1.invaded Japan in 19th century
2.nuked Japan and bombed almost a million Japanese
3.colonizing Japan, running puppet Japanese Government of U.S's interest and manipulate Japanese officials and congressmen, kicked out Japanese official who don't obey Americans' order
4.strangled Japanese economy in 1980s by forcing Japan to sign Plaza Accord and cause Japanese economic recession for more than one decade
5.deployed large army in Japan and keep raping Japanese women in the streets in broad daylight for more than 60 years, and protect American rapists from the punishment of Japanese law
Americans wishfully think that Japan is U.S.'s "ally'' without realizing Japan is forced to be U.S. "ally" just because U.S. army occupies Japan and U.S. controls Japanese government. Japanese bury their hatred against U.S. deep inside hearts, wait for the day to be free from U.S. and retaliate. That's why the Japanese worship the war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine and Kamikaze pilots against Americans, and the victims nuked by U.S.
Japanese take every chance to loose the control of U.S., push American army out of Japan little by little, step by step. On the day when Japan is finally freed of U.S control, the first country Japan is going to nuke is: U.S. !!!

by: toben crosse from: california
July 02, 2014 3:27 PM
Japan is one of the success stories of the 19th and 20th centuries. bombed into oblivion millions of its citizens killed both civilian and military. making tin toys in late forties and fifties.
with the help of its former enemy, the united states the country was rebuilt and soon was flourishing soon to become a modern and productive society. it shows that the u.s.a. can forgive a once hated country to help it become productive and prosperous. japan needed the u.s. military to secure its homeland at one time but now japan can survive on its own.
it is the irrational fears of china and korea both north and south that japan will resume its old ways and try to conquer them if japan becomes a strong military presence in japan and in alliances with other nearby nations. it is a very different world we live in today far removed from the closed society that japan was 50 60 70 100 years ago. the imperial japan from history will never materialize in such blind devotion again.
any way that's my opinion

by: meanbill from: USA
July 02, 2014 11:49 AM
The US again interferes in the politics of the Asian countries, by supporting and promoting the rearming of the little island of the rising sun, that once was the empire of the rising sun?.... Let the little island of the rising sun rearm, so their ancestors will quit spinning in their graves, listening to the whining and crying, of the little islanders....

PS; The little island of the rising sun, (because of the horrible atrocities they committed), has no friends or allies in Asia, (and they'll never have any, except business partners), and if not for the US, they'd be defenseless.... The lonely little friendless island of the rising sun?.... that once was?

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