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Public Lecture Slides (4.17.2017): Powerful or powerless Japan?


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(4.17.2017) Powerful or powerless Japan?
Investigating the full extent of the world's third-largest power

Slides for discussant, Dr. Satoru Nagao.

Dr. Guibourg Delamotte, Associate Professor of Political science at the French Institute of Oriental Studies (Inalco)’s Japanese studies department

Dr. Satoru Nagao, Research Fellow at the Institute for Future Engineering, Visiting Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Oriental Cultures at Gakushuin University, Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, and Lecturer at Aoyama-Gakuin and Komazawa universities.

ICAS public lecture series videos are posted on Youtube:

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Public Lecture Slides (4.17.2017): Powerful or powerless Japan?

  1. 1. Is Japan Truly a Powerful Country? Dr. Satoru Nagao
  2. 2. Is Japan powerful? • For at least two reasons, people want to ask this question. • First, although Japan has a strong economy, Japan has not shown its presence in the domain of world security. • Second, Japan has defensive capabilities but no offensive capabilities.
  3. 3. However, whether Japan is powerful or not is a psychological question. • When the Obama administration hesitated to attack Syria despite a promise to attack when Syria used chemical weapons in 2013, it seemed that the US had retreated from power. • When Russia succeeded in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria from 2014 to 2016, it seemed that Putin’s Russia was powerful despite Russia’s far weaker military than that of the US. • When the US under President Donald Trump attacked Syria in 2017, it seemed that the US was powerful. • A country that can address security needs properly is regarded as “powerful”.
  4. 4. Therefore, • Three questions must be posed to elicit an answer as to whether Japan is powerful or powerless. • What are Japan’s security needs in the Indo-Pacific? • Does Japan have the will and capability to respond to its needs? • Will Japan change to become a truly powerful country in the near future?
  5. 5. 1. What are Japan’s security needs in the Indo-Pacific? • Salient features of the recent security situation in the Indo- Pacific are North Korea’s missile and nuclear development and China’s maritime assertiveness. Taking China’s maritime assertiveness as an example can indicate Japan’s security needs.. Currently, although the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected China’s ownership claim of 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, China is ignoring the verdict and building three new airports on their seven artificial islands in the South China Sea
  6. 6. • To identify the security needs, the reason why has China’s assertiveness intensified so much lately is important. It seems that the tendency of China’s maritime expansion has been based on military balance, if history is any guide. For example, when France withdrew from Vietnam in the 1950s, China occupied half of the Paracel Islands. China occupied the other half of the Paracel Islands in 1974 immediately after the Vietnam War ended and the US withdrew from the region. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Vietnam, China attacked the Spratly Islands controlled by Vietnam in 1988. Along similar lines, after the US withdrew from the Philippines, China occupied Mischief Reef, which both the Philippines and Vietnam claimed
  7. 7. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 USA China As background of the current situation, the military balance between the US and China has also changed after the Cold War. From 2000 to 2016, China has acquired at least 43 submarines. During same period, , the US has acquired only 14. US allies and friendly countries require a new security framework to adjust to these changing circumstances. 43 14
  8. 8. • For a long time, bilateral alliances led by the US, such as those of Japan–US, US– Australia, US–Philippines, and US – South Korea have maintained order in the Indo- Pacific as an “old” security framework resembling a “Hub and Spoke system.” In the system, a deep defense relation is lacking among the allies. For example, both Japan and Australia are US allies, but they share no close security relations. Under this system, US allies and friendly countries are heavily dependent on US military power. When US influence declines, the reliability of the entire security framework declines. • Consequently, a new security framework has emerged. This framework is a security network of numerous bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, other multilateral cooperative relationships among US allies and friendly countries. This cooperation includes not only US-led cooperation such as Japan–US–Australia, Japan–US–India, and Japan–US–Australia–India, but also cooperation by Japan–Australia–India and Australia–India–Indonesia, notably without inclusion of the US
  9. 9. “Old Alliance”: US and its bilateral relations “New Alliance”: Network of allies and friendly countries US Japan Australia US IndiaJapan Australia
  10. 10. First, because this system is not heavily dependent on US influence, the adverse impact of declining US influence is expected to be minimal. Secondly, because this system includes India and Southeast Asian countries, which are expected to have rising influence, the security framework can maintain sufficient power for a long time. Furthermore, a multilateral system demands that countries adopt a rule-based approach. For that reason, if China and Russia act responsibly under an agreed set of rules, they might be allowed to join. Therefore, the new security framework offers the important possibility of reducing regional tensions. This new security framework presents several strong points of marked benefit.
  11. 11. What needs does Japan have under the new security framework? • First, Japan should bear a greater burden of defending itself. • Second, it is important for Japan to enhance security cooperation with other US allies and friendly countries. Ex: Australia, India, UK and France • A third important role for Japan is building the capacity of Southeast Asian defense forces.
  12. 12. 2. Does Japan have the will and capability to respond to its needs? • Japan has already realized the importance of the three matters above. • Japan’s new “Marine” type amphibious force to defend and take back islands is good example. • The National Security Strategy of Japan published in 2013 has described the importance of security cooperation with Australia, India, and Southeast Asian countries. • EX: • Japan and Australia signed a new Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement • Japan has cooperated with India by concluding defense information sharing agreements • Japan also leased TC-90 training planes to the Philippines. • Patrol vessels to Philippines and Vietnam Japan will export used P-3C patrol planes to Vietnam and Sri Lanka ……..etc
  13. 13. Nevertheless, it is also true that Japan’s cooperation has not included offensive capabilities. • For example, in the case of artificial islands in the South China Sea, China cannot use airfields on these artificial islands safely if coastal countries have missiles with which to attack. • For that reason, Vietnam has started to deploy precision-guided rocket launchers. Vietnam also imports Club S submarine launched surface attack cruise missiles from Russia. Furthermore, they are planning to import Bramos cruise missiles developed as a joint venture of Russia and India.
  14. 14. • It is not easy to imagine that Japan will support Vietnamese offensive capabilities as Russia and India appear to be doing • Does Japan have powerful influence in such a case? • Viewed from this perspective, Japan’s influence can be powerful only when other countries provide capabilities Japan cannot provide.
  15. 15. 3. Will Japan change to become a truly powerful country in the near future? • Although Japan’s influence is limited, it is also true that Japan is changing. • EX: Japan planned to export submarines to Australia. • Japan has started air-to-air missile joint development projects with the UK • To defend against missile attack from North Korea, Japan is planning to hold limited offensive capability to destroy missile bases. • However, one problem remains.
  16. 16. Will the US allow Japan to transform itself? • For a long time, the US did not wish Japan to possess offensive capabilities. For example, when Japan requested the export of F-22 stealth fighter jets in 2007, the US refused the request. Possessing the F-22 would signal that Japan can bomb missile sites in North Korea independently. • And for Japan, relations with the US are the priority. Japan and the US have created trustworthy relations through close diplomatic coordination during more than 65 years. Furthermore, the US is the only foreign country to have occupied Japan during its 2000 year history. Japan will not possess offensive capabilities if the US will not allow it.
  17. 17. However, signs have pointed to changes in US policy. • In the past, the US has restrained not only Japan but also other US allies such as Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines from developing offensive capabilities. • But, under a rising North Korean threat, the US has already allowed South Korea to develop cruise missiles with an 800-km range. They succeeded in the first test on April 2017. This fact has indicated that the US will allow Japan to possess similar missiles in the near future.
  18. 18. 4. Conclusion: Is Japan powerful? • Is Japan powerful? Under current circumstances, Japan has strived to enhance its own defense capabilities to ease dependence on the US. Japan has been increasing its influence by responding to their needs. • However, to show its powerful influence using arms exports, Japan requires collaboration with other countries that can provide offensive capabilities that Japan cannot provide. • In addition, to possess offensive capabilities, Japan must seek permission from the US. • These facts indicate that Japan itself does not seek to become an independently powerful country with offensive capabilities. • Japan will be a powerful country only when the US, its allies, and countries friendly to the US including Australia, India, and Southeast Asian countries strongly demand that Japan become a powerful country.
  19. 19. Thank you very much Power~!? Power~!Power~! Power~! Power~!? Power~? Power~!?