Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 3
Next Steps for U.S.-Japan Security Cooperation
In recent years, the United States and Japan have taken significant steps toward a stronger security alliance. Three major accomplishments stand out: the reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution, Japan’s new security legislation, and the revision of the bilateral defense guidelines. These breakthroughs have taken place in the context of crucial security imperatives. The Asia-Pacific faces an uncertain security environment, with China’s military buildup, the North Korean nuclear and missile threats, and a revanchist Russia—while the global security situation continues to deteriorate, with evolving terrorist threats, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and relatively new challenges in the domains of cyber and outer space. While recent efforts to remove some of the legal and structural obstacles that have prohibited Japan from playing a larger role in the alliance have set the stage for a new era of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation, serious challenges remain to implement and operationalize the new reforms and mechanisms. This paper reviews the recent progress and identifies important issues and differences that the United States and Japan must address to achieve even deeper security cooperation and truly transform the alliance.
About the author
Rachel Hoff researches defense budget and national security issues at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank. She was one of the founding staff members of the Foreign Policy Initiative, where she served four years as Director of Government Relations & External Affairs. She previously worked as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and as a Research Assistant at the American Enterprise Institute. Ms. Hoff was born and raised on military bases in Japan.
About the Sasakawa USA Forum
This paper serves as Issue No. 3 of the Sasakawa USA Forum, a platform for research and analysis related to Japan and U.S.-Japan relations in a bilateral, regional, and global context. In order to gain a more comprehensive view of U.S.-Japan relations, the Sasakawa USA Forum publishes research from experts outside of our organization. Click here for details on how to submit research for consideration.