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-- Japan Module

Unilateralism is key to the Japan alliance – strong US power projection is key to ensure Japanese cooperation against China

Selden, 13 – director of the Defence and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly AND an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida (ZACHARY, “Balancing Against or Balancing With? The Spectrum of Alignment and the Endurance of American Hegemony,” Security Studies Journal, 08 May 2013, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09636412.2013.786918#.U8b7VI1dVe8)//eek

Japan Unlike India, Japan is a long-standing ally of the United States. The post-World War II occupation, US military bases, and an American-drafted Japanese constitution obviously tied Japan to the United States in a network of security arrangements that Japan did not have full control of in the 1950s and 1960s. It was not until 1972, for example, that Japan regained sovereignty over the island of Okinawa. Given its proximity to the Soviet Union, Japan had clear security interests in common with the United States that made for a solid alliance during the Cold War. In the 1990s, however, there were ques- tions as to the direction and durability of the US-Japan alliance.80 For many observers, the end of the Cold War combined with the economic rivalry between the United States and Japan was destined to lead to a weakening of the security-based alliance.81 Yet, in the first decade of the twenty-first century the US-Japanese al- liance grew considerably stronger. Most significantly, Japan and the United States revamped their security alliance in 2005 in a manner that ties the two even more closely on a range of issues.82 Japan also contributed Japanese Self Defense Forces to US-led coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.83 In fact, the security relationship between the two countries in the 2001–2009 period developed to the point that Japan was sometimes referred to as the “Great Britain of Asia” implying that there was a “special relationship” with Japan on par with the one between the United States and the United Kingdom.84 All of this would appear to run counter to the assertion that American foreign policy in the 2001–2009 period was generally pushing second-tier states to frustrate the exercise of American power in the international system. Japan is an economically powerful state that for many years was predicted to become a rival of the United States, shaking off the restraints on it left from the legacy of WWII and emerging as a power in its own right.85 But rather than minimizing its security relationship with the United States in this period, Japan actively sought to forge closer security ties with it. The agreement that formalized the US-Japan security relationship dur- ing the Cold War has been updated in ways that strengthen Japan’s role in advancing the two countries’ mutual security interests. The most recent 2005 security agreement follows on changes in the security agreement made in 1997, which in turn extended Japan’s responsibilities and the scope of bilateral activities from the previous arrangement. Under that agreement, the 1960s formulation of Japan’s geographic involvement in security-related matters was confined to the region north of the Philippines and the area surrounding Japan. The 1997 defense guidelines remove this geographic definition and state that Japan will play a role in “situations in areas sur- rounding Japan that will have an important influence on Japan’s peace and security.”86 At the time, Japanese officials did not conceive of the Middle East or the Indian Ocean as being within their remit.87 This rapidly changed as Japan moved to support the United States through its maritime contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom beginning in December 2001. Japan’s participation in US-led operations after 2001 was primarily symbolic; the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, the airlift mission in the Persian Gulf and the five hundred Japanese Self Defense Force personnel in southern Iraq were helpful but hardly decisive contributions. But those contributions showed that Japan was willing to act in support of US goals beyond the East Asian region. The reason that Japan did so is that its security depends on a combina- tion of multilateral and bilateral relationships to mitigate potential dangers in the region, but the bilateral relationship with the United States is the linchpin. The danger posed by North Korea’s weapons programs, and the long-standing if overshadowed territorial issues between Japan and Russia play a role in the development of a stronger security relationship between the United States and Japan in the post-2001 period.88 In addition, Japan is heavily dependent on imported oil and relies on the US Navy’s ability to ensure its free transit through the major sea lanes of communication from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. Another highly significant driver of this relationship, however, is Japan’s concerns regarding the increase in China’s regional power. China is a major trading partner for all states in the region, including Japan, and Japan for its part seeks to enmesh China in a web of ties that will ensure Japanese security. This interest dovetails with the rather consistent US strategy toward China, which is sometimes summed up as opening up, tying down, and binding together.89 Nonetheless, Japan wants to avoid the emergence of a China-dominated system in the region and is concerned about the propensity of China to use its increased naval power in the region.90 Recent disputes over territorial control of the potentially oil-rich areas of the South China Sea have prompted Japanese defense planners to explicitly factor China into their justifications for a more proactive Japanese military posture.91 The Japanese Defense Ministry’s annual report entitled Defense of Japan 2011 spells this out in detail. In particular, the document cites China’s “overbearing” naval activities, and notes that China is, “expanding and intensifying its activities in its surrounding waters . . . its military activities are referred to as a mat- ter of concern for the region and the international community, including Japan.” 92 The document goes on to state that China, “can be expected to ex- pand its sphere of naval activities and carry out operations,” and highlights the important strategic role of US-Japan naval cooperation in this regard. An entire chapter of the document is devoted to “Deepening of the Japan- U.S. Alliance” and notes that one of the alliance’s primary objectives is to, “encourage China’s responsible role in regional stability.”93 Part of the deepening of the alliance involves shifting more of the burden of supporting the US military presence in the region onto Japan, and Japanese analysts see the increased security ties between the two countries in the context of Japan’s concerns about China’s role in the region.94 The practical ramifications of the 2005 agreement can be seen in the increased cooperation on missile defense and US force deployments. Under the agreement, Japan would host an X-band early warning system in northern Japan. In addition the Japanese Air Defense Command would move to the US Yokuda Air Base near Tokyo, which would become a joint command for missile defense. US forces stationed in Japan would be realigned to allow for more flexibility, and Japan would shoulder much of the financial burden of this movement. Following from the recommendations of the US Global Posture Review, eight thousand US Marines of those stationed in Okinawa would move to Guam. Yet at the same time, the headquarters for the US Army First Corps would move from the United States to Camp Zama near Tokyo to build better bilateral coordination. These moves were designed to reduce the burden on local communities in Okinawa where the heavy US military presence had become a political issue for local and national officials, while at the same time increasing the coordination of US and Japanese forces and strengthening the ability of the United States to deal with regional contingencies. Some of the intensified security ties developed between 2001 and 2009 were ascribed to the close relationship between then Prime Minister Ju- nichiro Koizumi and President George W. Bush, and in fact the relationship did appear to waver after those two leaders were replaced.95 But the al- liance with the United States is fundamental to Japanese security and is only likely to increase in relevance as China continues along its growth trajectory. Japan took a range of actions to solidify the alliance in the 2001–2009 pe- riod, demonstrating its value to the United States as a security partner and facilitating US military action in the Asia Pacific, South Asia, and Middle East.

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