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Commentary: Capability to attack enemy bases necessary for stronger Japan-U.S. alliance

By Kotani Tetsuo, professor in the foreign language department at Meikai University


(Interviewed by Kaneko Yasushi, political news department)


The acquisition of the capability to attack enemy bases, which has been mulled by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, is necessary to strengthen the alliance between Japan and the U.S. It is noteworthy that a plan to expand Japan’s role was presented [during the latest Japan-U.S. security meeting of foreign and defense ministers (“two-plus-two”).]


Japan envisages threats posed by Chinese missiles with a Taiwan contingency in mind when it considers acquiring the capability to attack enemy bases. Japan and China have a mutually beneficial strategic relationship, but the current situation in which China is stepping up military activities is out of synch with this relationship.    


Both Japan and the U.S. will enter a crucial phase of reviewing their strategic documents regarding security and national defense this year. The latest two-plus-two meeting served as a good opportunity for the two sides to carefully coordinate their strategies. I believe the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation drawn up in 2015 will also be reviewed.


It is commendable that the joint statement stipulated that Tokyo and Washington will jointly analyze the hypersonic technology being developed by China, Russia, and North Korea.


As for the U.S.’s “nuclear umbrella,” the joint statement said it will “continue to be strong,” an expression stronger than the one used after the two-plus-two meeting held in March last year, which said Japan and the U.S. will “enhance close coordination.” Japan was concerned that the U.S. administration under President Joe Biden would be less involved in nuclear strategy. But the joint statement succeeded in dispelling concerns after confirming that the nuclear umbrella is firm.


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