Posted by: bklunk | May 3, 2007

Where Do I Turn?

Japan faces an interesting security dilemma with the growth of China and uncertainty about North Korea.

U.S. Commitment to Extended Deterrence for Japan « International Humanity

Currently, the United States is the most powerful state in the international system. However, there is a continual struggle in international politics for a balance of relative power among states. Security is a major concern of states, especially from a realist perspective that would argue a self-help system. One such attempt to balance relative differences in military strength is to form bilateral or multilateral alliances among states.

Japan and the United States agreed on May 1st to conclude a treaty that will allow the two states to share information concerning ballistic missile defense and other military data. This agreement was the result of a series of information leaks involving Japanese Self-Defense Forces members.

The U.S. and Japan agreed that this new alliance will be consistent and complimentary to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in contributing to world peace and stability. Furthermore, Japan agreed to achieve broader cooperation with NATO in the future.

The underlying motivation behind this decision is the desire to be able to respond more effectively to emerging security challenges and to further protect classified materials. This can be seen in the ministers’ agreement to establish a task force on chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear defense so that Japanese and U.S. forces can swiftly respond to such attacks.

In this way, Japan is being a very intelligent state in international politics. Not only is the Japanese economy heavily integrated with other economies throughout the world, Japan is also allying itself with the strongest military power in the world in order to advance the nation of Japan. From the perspective of the United States as well, having strong ties with a state such as Japan in East Asia has a number of benefits. Japan is a highly industrialized, technologically advanced, democratic, cooperative state that shares many of the same values as the Western United States such as human rights, peace, and liberal trade. It is only natural that these two states would want to cooperate in every way possible, to the extent that they can trust and rely on one another. Thus, international institutions such as NATO and the United Nations are essential in maintaining a political regime of principles, norms, and rules that the two states can agree upon.


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  1. Well, it seems like a logical step for both Japan and United States. It is true that the security of Japan has been more and more threatened by the actions of Kim Jong Il in North Korea. How can we forget their nuclear test and their firing of missile into the Sea of Japan? If this isn’t threatening then I don’t know what would be. Also China is becoming an emerging superpower, and they just fire down one of the satellites. That kind of technology is a bit unnerving. Look at what we are cooperating on–missile defense. It seems rather obvious that this manuever is in response to North Korea and China. One last point I want to make is the US involvement. Usually I would sit here and reprimand the United States for favoring a nation so much when it comes to security. I am proponent of international organizations for this purpose (NATO and UN) because it avoids the messy situation of alliances like in WWI. However, Japan is different because after WWII we rewrote their constitution and out of fear of their militarism Article 9 was developed. It basically stated that Japan would not develop a military and leave its security to the United States. This 60 year-old custom is so much a part of the relationship between the US and Japan that is a norm for the two countries to cooperate militarily, and this situation certainly follows suit.

  2. This is definitely the right move for Japan. They are surrounded by two of the main military threats in the world, China and North Korea. To aatch yourself to the U.S., with our political and military power, advances yourself at the same time. It is also good for the U.S. as stated in the article because we now have ties with another power located in a very strategical part of the world were it never hurts to have another ally. The share many of the same values and political beliefs as we do, so it should be a benefit to both sides. The problem that I see however is that it makes both sides a little more vulnerable in the fact that now we have previously confidential information flowing between both sides, and making sensitive information available to more people opens new doors for leaks and other security issues. Hopefully though this new alliance will work smoothly and be a benefit to both countries.

  3. I cannot say that I am surprised in the least by the decision of Japan to aligned itself with the US, not can I say that I do not believe it is a smart one. The poster of the article points out the relevance of such a treaty to Japan but it does not really mention they do not really mention the potential implications for the US, and how beneficial this can be for them.

    If you look at US foreign policy in much of the world you will not notice a increased intention to try and further “foot holds” in different regions; we want some of the former east block in line with us to give us good positioning in that region, and like wise for Turkey entering the EU, to increase the ease by which the US can access that part of the world. The same general philosophy is at work here, the US has a foothold in Japan, but as technology, specifically military technology advances the US is looking for more solidified relationships; this treaty does just that.

    It is true that Japan wants an ally with the looming threat of China and N.Koria, but across the ocean the US is also worried about those threats and sees its treaty with Japan as a way of making sure there is closer eye on the scene so to speak.

  4. Like others have said, this is a wise strategic decision for both Japan and the United States. The fact that Japan is so closely located to North Korea and China, it seems that it would only make sense that the United States would want to take advantage of that relationship. Japan, being a more western-style state in that region, is showing that it is interested in closely associating with the most prosperous and most powerful states in the world. It is important that there be a stable government in that area of the world that the United States can look to. The one thing that should be monitored, though I don’t think is would be a problem in the near future, would be that the United States has the potential possibility to abuse their relationship and take advantage of their alliance with Japan. I would think that Japan would not be so naive to think that this is a flawless relationship and both sides will get exactly what they want, but I think that it will be immensely beneficial for both to exchange the type of information outlined in the treaty.

  5. I, along with everybody else, view this as an intelligent move for the US, but, a slightly more risky move for Japan. One thing that I feel most people are forgetting is that Japan has a different reason for entering into this alliance. People are discussing Japan as if it is an active military war player. Given, it still has a military and soldiers and what not. But in the post- WWII era, Japan created a law stating that the nation of Japan will not be allowed to go to war. There has already been controversy over the presence of Japanese troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. By having an increase in cooperation over military endeavors and information, the Japanese are digging themselves a deeper hole of having to support the US military.
    Of course the US will be happy to have an ally that signs a treaty for increased military cooperation. Not many nations support the US military at the moment. And as others have said, having a foothold in East Asia significantly helps the US standing militarily in that region of the world. It will be interesting to see if the US uses this treaty as more than simply a sharing of information – promoting the liberal ideal of cooperation.

  6. As others mentioned earlier, this step towards a military cooperation is that of strategic importance for both the United States and Japan. With tensions running a bit high between North Korea and the US, I am sure the United States is happy to have an ally and strong foothold throughout the region. But is this necessarily a major benefit for Japan? Well some may argue that having an alliance with the United States as a world power player that yeah it may be worth the cost. However others may believe that having an increase in cooperation over military endeavors and information, the Japanese are going to have to support the US military more than ever, especially during this period of anger and resentment. Overall though, the strategic gains are what are most important. If the Japanese feel better situated due to the connections formed by the alliance, than they have justified their engagement, and are free to act in a matter they see suitable.

  7. I think it’s a great step for both Japan and United States and there’s much truth in that the security of Japan has been threatened by the North Korean leader. I also think its very wise for the United States to take advantage of the situation considering the relationship with Japan and North Korea. Along with the benefits of this relationship and how the United States are taking advantage of the situation, I cant help but think that the United States might abuse the relationship. In fact, I’m quite sure that it wont be too long before the United States takes too much and doesn’t bother giving back. But at the same time I wonder if there is any doubt in the minds of Japan. Hopefully things will work out, we really do need some unity here!

  8. Klunk is insane here.

  9. I think that this is a good move for the United States and Japan because they both can profit from this cooperation. Now that the United States has the chance of loosing power in China (article with Blackstone stake) this treaty can help with influences in Asian countries. Also with the help of the US Japan can keep control over itself and not be worried about being threatened by other countries, such as North Korea or China.Now they have reasons to feel more safe in an area where they are threatened by others. In addition Japan will be able to recieve military help in areas that it has not grown significantly in. This will help Japan greatly, but will not be given without the price of helping the United States in return. The United States will be able to receive more support through Japan than it ever has before, without having to keep the country on such a short leach as the U.S. has had to do in the past. This way more freedom will be given to Japan but the cooperation and help of each country will benefit one another.

  10. […] Brazil Coin and its Hidden Messagepalps88 on U.S. Commitment to Extended Deterrence for JapanW?here Do I Turn « IRregular Blogging on U.S. Commitment to Extended Deterrence for […]

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