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Opinion: Japan, U.S. should strengthen deterrence against China

  • May 25, 2022
  • , Nikkei , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

By Sasae Ken’ichiro is the president of the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He was the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. from 2012 to 2018.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused major structural changes in the world. Japan and the U.S. have to team up with Asian nations to play a major role.


During the latest summit, Tokyo and Washington confirmed that they will cooperate not only bilaterally and in the Indo-Pacific region but also globally in both name and reality based on the Japan-U.S. alliance. It can be said the Japan-U.S. relationship has entered a new era.


The two countries have to deal with Chinese and North Korean issues in Asia. The joint statement issued by the Japanese and American leaders defined peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as an “essential element in security and prosperity of the international community.”


U.S. President Joe Biden said the U.S. would get involved militarily in a Taiwan contingency. The President’s personal remark is important as a message to China. Clearly sending a message that [the U.S.] is ready to defend Taiwan by force of arms will discourage [China from invading Taiwan].


Japan and the U.S. highlighted the “strengthening of extended deterrence” in the joint statement in response to North Korea’s nuclear development and China’s escalation of military pressure. This makes the U.S.’s extended deterrence all the more important.


The announcement by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of a plan to increase defense spending indicates Japan’s intention to make efforts on its own unilaterally without depending on the U.S.


But Japan’s strengthening its defense capabilities is not keeping pace with changes in the international situation. Japan needs to make efforts to understand the actions of major countries and to keep in step with trustworthy countries.


It is commendable that the U.S. drew up the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). Some question whether the framework is actually beneficial as it does not address market access. But the framework includes elements that are not included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. So it will be beneficial to Japan.



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