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Japan’s National Security Strategy Joins U.S. in Defending ‘Rules Based Order’

Jan. 4, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Japan’s new National Security Strategy (NSS), released on Dec. 16 but not available in English translation until near the end of that month, takes aim at both Russia and China, and secondarily at North Korea, as threats to “the free, open and stable international order” which Japan must join with the U.S. and other “advanced democracies” to defend. While those “advanced democracies” have “devoted themselves to upholding universal values such as freedom, democracy, respect for fundamental human rights, and the rule of law,” certain other countries “not sharing universal values, are making attempts to revise the existing international order.” Making things worse, “we are even observing that some states are now following the lead of those not sharing universal values.”

In response to this, “Japan needs a strategy that integrates its national responses at a higher level by taking a panoramic view of the diverse dimensions of international relations as a whole...” The NSS therefore “provides strategic guidance for Japan’s national security areas, including diplomacy, defense, economic security, technology, cyber, maritime, space, intelligence, official development assistance (ODA), and energy.” The NSS, “While maintaining the fundamental principles of the Japanese national security, grounded in these arrangements,” its “strategic guidance and policies ... will dramatically transform Japan’s national security policy after the end of WWII from the aspect of its execution.”

The most dramatic change in Japan’s military posture that the NSS calls for is the development of a “counterstrike capability,” that is, an offensive strike capability, such as that provided by cruise missiles. The document asserts that Japan will continue its “steadfast” efforts to develop its missile defense capabilities. It declares, however, that “if Japan continues to rely solely upon ballistic missile defenses, it will become increasingly difficult to fully address missile threats with the existing missile defense network alone.” For this reasons, therefore, Japan needs capabilities to respond to missile attacks by an adversary power, a capability Japan had renounced going back to 1956.

On China and Russia, the document is largely a carbon copy of U.S. policies, including the U.S. National Security Strategy, released last October. China, it says, has rapidly increased its military spending “without sufficient transparency” and is intensifying its efforts “to unilaterally change the status quo” in the East and South China Seas. As for Russia, its “aggression against Ukraine and its other actions clearly demonstrate that it does not hesitate to resort to military forces to achieve its own security objectives.” Furthermore, “Russia has been doubling down on strategic coordination with China.” The document declares further that “Russia’s external and military activities and others have shaken the very foundation of the international order, and are perceived as the most significant and direct threat to security in the European region.” But Russia is also a Pacific nation which, along with its coordination with China makes it a threat in the Pacific region as well.

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