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Expert: Create specialized subcommittees for Japan-U.S. technological cooperation

By Koda Yoji, former commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force Fleet 

 

In the past the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (Japan-U.S. “2+2”) had met once every two years. This time, however, a meeting was held less than a year after the previous one. The meeting had to be held online due to the coronavirus situation. Having the virtual option has made it easier to convene the committee frequently.

 

The original aim was to make it possible for the two countries to hold a 2+2 immediately if an issue were to arise. Ironically, the COVID pandemic has brought us closer to achieving the ideal of the Japan-U.S. alliance. From now on, the 2+2 could be held every six months.

 

I give high marks to the fact that Japan and the United States signed a technological cooperation agreement at the recent talks, with a view to countering hypersonic weapons, which China is developing.

 

The Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee offers no indication of concrete next steps, however, and this is a cause for concern. I hope to see such initiatives as the creation in Japan and the United States of permanent, specialized subcommittees for technological cooperation.

 

The reference made to Taiwan in the joint statement was a reiteration of the mention made in the April 2021 Japan-U.S. Joint Leaders’ Statement and offered no new ideas.

 

It is not enough to simply say “peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.” It is clear that Japan is taking China’s reaction into account.

 

The reference to Taiwan should have been based on the scenario of China increasing its pressure on Taiwan and diplomatic measures no longer functioning.

 

It would also have been good for the joint statement to mention Russia because the rapprochement between China and Russia has a great impact on the security of Japan and the United States.

 

There is also little mention of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The heart of the Indo-Pacific is ASEAN. To keep China from drawing close to the region, even the Japan-U.S. 2+2 needs to view the strengthening of relations with ASEAN as central.

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