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Japanese Activism
Japan-U.S. Defense Alliance Goes Global

Japan is set to adopt a new set of rules for its military partnership with the U.S. that will allow Tokyo to join its ally in global conflicts—a move designed to strengthen the alliance in the face of an expansionist China. The proposed new guidelines drop the provision from the current 1997 rules that specifies that Japanese force can only be used to address “situations in areas surrounding Japan.” Bloomberg explains some of the context:

Faced with a territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed through a series of measures to toughen Japan’s defense stance since taking office in 2012. He is seeking to increase the defense budget for a third year after more than a decade of cuts, and in July his cabinet reinterpreted the pacifist constitution to allow Japan to defend other countries [under the legal rubric of “collective self defense”].

“Since 1997, when the guidelines were last revised, the world has changed, the region has changed and Japan has changed,” said Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. “We face serious ongoing threats.”

Japan and the U.S. said in October 2013 they aimed to complete a review of the defense guidelines by the end of this year, in what Secretary of State John Kerry said would be a road map for the relationship over the next 15 to 20 years. It’s not clear whether the deadline will be met, with Japan still drafting the legislation needed to implement the cabinet’s reinterpretation of the constitution, which is also to be reflected in the new guidelines.

Abe has insisted that Japan won’t participate into large foreign conflicts:

The removal of geographical restrictions on the alliance comes after Abe’s assurances that Japan’s forces will never take part in a conflict comparable to the Gulf War. Japan has pledged aid in response to Islamic State’s capture of areas in Iraq and Syria, while saying it will not take part in bombing campaigns in the Middle East.

Japan’s top geopolitical goal right now is countering Beijing. The best tool that Abe has has for achieving that goal is his country’s relationship with the U.S., and he’s using it.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    China’s belligerence is providing an opportunity for the US to negotiate a super favorable economic and military alliance with all the nations from India to Japan and south to Australia. Unfortunately Obama is the weakest president in history and seems intent on doing everything he can to weaken the US.

    • Sibir_RUS

      The Chinese know how to wait. They work hard, time is on their side.
      Russia, India, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and even Australia are moving to the calculations in the yuan in trade with China. The share of the dollar in international transactions has been steadily declining.
      This process is irreversible. 17 October the U.S. reached regular threshold technical default 16.7 trillion.

    • Sibir_RUS

      The former chief economist of the International monetary Fund (IMF) Simon Johnson said: «Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street».
      Today not all Americans agree with this statement.
      Then the country worked. Now, in the main, prints dollars and gaining debts.

  • Sibir_RUS

    Japan’s biggest trading partner of China.
    Japan goes to settlements in yuan in trade with China.
    It is very annoying Washington, but it is a reality from which cannot escape.

  • Sibir_RUS

    The Independent. UK
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