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Editorial: Protect peace by strengthening Japan-U.S. alliance: “2-plus-2”

We give high marks to the fact that both the Japanese and U.S. governments demonstrated a policy of addressing China’s attempt to “change the status quo by force” by strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the alliance.

 

The first meeting of the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2-plus-2) was held between the ministers in charge of foreign affairs and defense of Japan and the U.S. after the inauguration of the Kishida Fumio administration.

 

It is noteworthy that in the joint statement, Japan and the U.S. declared, with China in mind, that they will “work together to deter and, if necessary, respond to destabilizing activities in the region.”

 

It is also important to note that the two countries declared they will “fully align” their security strategies and “will together prioritize their goals.”

 

The two countries clearly state that they will “cooperate with all entities” that share the values of freedom, democracy, etc. This can be interpreted as possible cooperation with Taiwan, which Japan and the U.S. do not recognize as a state. The 2-plus-2 representatives reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

 

Through the joint statement, Japan and the U.S. showed that if China attempts to annex Taiwan, which is a free and democratic island, Japan and the U.S. would counteract the attempt both diplomatically and militarily. In order to protect peace from the threat posed by China, which is a believer in power, it is essential to strengthen the “deterrence” of the Japan-U.S. alliance and their “response capability” to various situations, including a Taiwan contingency.

 

On the same day, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition.” This fierce opposition itself tells us that the Japan-U.S. 2-plus-2 was meaningful.

 

The next step from now is to ensure that Japan and the U.S. realize the measures included in the joint statement. Following the last 2-plus-2 meeting between the two countries in March 2021, Japan and the U.S. showed their determination to drastically strengthen their defense capabilities for the two purposes of “national defense” and “regional peace and stability.”

 

The Okinawan islands, which are geographically very close to Taiwan, are likely to become a war zone in the event of a Taiwan contingency. China regards the Senkaku Islands (Okinawa Prefecture) as part of “Taiwan Province.” From China’s perspective, therefore, Taiwan’s annexation cannot be completed without the capture of the Senkakus. Under the circumstances, there is an urgent necessity to develop a defense posture in preparation for a Taiwan contingency and a Senkaku contingency simultaneously.

 

Japan informed the U.S. that Tokyo is considering acquiring an enemy-base-attack capability to deal with missile threats. Japan and the U.S. have decided to promote joint research in order to respond to cutting-edge weapons such as hypersonic missiles being developed by China, Russia and North Korea. We hope these will be put into practice to ensure peace.

 

U.S. military bases in Japan are important for maintaining peace, but the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at bases is a problem. The U.S. forces should take a hard look at the situation and take thorough measures against the spread of the virus. 

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