FOCUS: Biden and Kishida future-proof bilateral ties in uncertain times

-Kyodo News-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in Kyodo News after the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit. Mr. Schoff points out that the 11th meeting between Biden and Kishida was a “showcase summit” that highlighted the variety of alliance activities. Of the 70 deliverables announced at the summit, Mr. Schoff adds that an integrated command and control structure between U.S. and Japan forces stands to be a consequential and lasting upgrade to the alliance.

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-The Yomiuri Shimbun-

In a story published in Japanese by The Yomiuri Shimbun on April 11, 2024, US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative Senior Director James Schoff spoke about the modernization of command and control between U.S. Forces Japan and the Self-Defense Forces.

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-The Japan Times-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in The Japan Times in relation to the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit. This article points out that one of main deliverables of the Biden-Kishida summit was an agreement to restructure and expand the functions of the U.S. military command in Japan with the goal to enhance the alliance’s operational planning, joint exercises, and command-and-control (C2) coordination. Mr. Schoff adds that “Kishida and Biden understand that they can effectively bolster deterrence with some integration of the two countries’ defense establishments.”

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-The Japan Times-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in The Japan Times ahead of the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit. In this article, Mr. Schoff alludes to the experiences of the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) during Operation Tomodachi and stresses the need for strengthening the functions of the U.S. military command in Japan in order to promote better coordination with the SDF.

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-JiJi Press-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in the JiJi Press ahead of the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit. In this article, Mr. Schoff noted the U.S. side is likely to provide basic principles about its anticipated command review.

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-The Japan Times-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in The Japan Times ahead of the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit, drawing from the US-Japan NEXT Alliance’s project on C2 modernization. An expected agenda items for Biden-Kishida summit are plans to restructure and expand the functions of the U.S. military command in Japan. In this article, Mr. Schoff notes restructuring would not create a combined command, but allow for more seamless information-sharing and collaborative decision-making to make existing chains of command more effective.

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-Voice of America-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted by the Voice of America ahead of the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit, drawing from the US-Japan NEXT Alliance’s project on C2 modernization. In this article, Mr. Schoff remarks that the impending plans to restructure U.S. military command in Japan is an “important step that the allies can take to enhance deterrence against regional threats and respond to any sort of major crisis.”

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-The Asahi Shimbun-

US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative Senior Director James Schoff spoke with The Asahi Shimbun on U.S.-Japan command and control cooperation, which will reach the Biden-Kishida summit level on April 10. In the Japanese edition of the newspaper published on March 28, the interview covered how the U.S. and Japan will strengthen cooperation in certain areas.

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-The Financial Times-

Sasakawa USA Senior Director James Schoff quoted in The Financial Times ahead of the April 10th Biden-Kishida summit, drawing from the US-Japan NEXT Alliance’s project on C2 modernization.

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-Center for Strategic and International Studies-

The speed with which Japan is moving to strengthen defense capabilities increases the importance of the next step in U.S.-Japan alliance transformation: modernizing its command-and-control architecture. As Japan becomes a more capable military partner, Washington and Tokyo need to build new structures to support a more operational alliance. A transformed command and control architecture would significantly enhance the credibility of the alliance and help to reinforce deterrence in East Asia. Japan’s planned acquisition of counterstrike capability lends particular urgency to this effort; for the first time, the United States and Japan will need to be able to coordinate the use of force, both tactically (identifying and prosecuting targets) and strategically (managing escalation in a conflict).

To foster bilateral dialogue on the topic, the authors have been collaborating for over a year with a wide range of experts, retired military and government officials, and currently serving officials from both countries—all with long alliance experience—to consider and debate options for modernizing the architecture of the alliance. This Sasakawa USA initiative produced a mid-term report last May, and a final report is forthcoming.  A central conclusion of these deliberations is the need for a forward U.S. joint operational command element in Japan to serve as the standing, day-to-day counterpart for Japan’s new J-JOC. It is up to the two governments to determine how to accomplish this vision in detail, but with the benefit of several bilateral workshops and input from many experts, the authors can offer some general recommendations.

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-Nikkei Asia-

LTG Koichiro Bansho, 35th commanding general, JGSDF, Western Army (Ret.), and Sasakawa USA distinguished senior fellow, spoke with Ken Moriyasu of the Nikkei Asia on how, in the event of a potential Taiwan crisis, Japan could play a role similar to Poland’s in the Ukraine war due to geography and needs to prepare for such a scenario.

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-The Yomiuri Shimbun-

US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative Senior Director James Schoff spoke with the Yomiuri Shimbun on the G7 and trilateral coordination between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea in a story published by the newspaper on May 22, 2023. The interview covered practical benefits that trilateral coordination would have, including information sharing on North Korean missiles, cooperation on munitions stockpile, and supply chain management. They also discussed how relations between Japan and South Korea might improve through trilateral dialogue on counterstrike capability development.

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