The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
China Gets Bad News as Japan and Australia Deepen Ties

Japan has China looking nervously over its shoulder this week as the country debates whether to share secret submarine technology with Australia. The Asahi Shimbun has more:

The sharing of military technology was made possible with the relaxation in 2011 of the three principles Japan had adhered to with regard to weapons exports. However, Japan has until now not shared such technology with any nation other than the United States.

According to high-ranking Defense Ministry officials, Australia sounded out Japan about getting submarine propulsion technology. Officials in Tokyo are now trying to determine what level of information to provide.

Australia’s request comes after a senior official from the country visited Japan in May of 2012 to examine a cutting edge Soryu-class submarine, which is equipped with air-independent propulsion technology that lets it stay under water for longer periods of time.

Submarine technology is highly classified; for Japan to share it with Australia would be another sign of a growing multilateral Asian-Pacific entente. The elephant in the submarine is, of course, China. China and Japan may eased the tension over island disputes in the East China Sea recently, but deepening ties between Japan and Australia show that China’s neighbors are still interested in balancing its regional power.

Published on February 3, 2013 11:00 am