The following are comments on the Armitage-Nye report by two Japanese scholars.
Expectations to fulfill the role of a partner
Kazuhiro Maejima, Sophia University professor
The latest report is not as much of a request to Japan as the previous reports were, but outlines more of a two-way exchange. The U.S. is no longer the “world’s policeman.” The report is an “earnest request” for Japan to fulfill a more important role as the U.S.’s partner. With China’s rise, the importance of the U.S.’s alliance with Japan has heightened.
“China” is mentioned more often in the report. Its underlying theme is “how to deal with China,” as seen in its proposal that Japan join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing network.
Japan’s homework is to improve Japan-South Korea relations
Mieko Nakabayashi, Waseda University professor
The report placed Japan on an equal footing, but gave it “homework.” The report noted the importance of Japan-U.S.-South Korea trilateral cooperation because a Biden administration may request Japan and South Korea to improve their relationship. For Japan, the improvement of bilateral relations is a difficult issue. The Japan-South Korea relationship faces difficulties over historical issues.
Also notable are the requests made of the U.S. The report’s description of the U.S. situation as “unstable” shows a sense of urgency that the global cooperation that frayed under the Trump administration must be restored.