Sasakawa USA Forum Issue No. 13
Realizing a “Seamless Response”: Incorporating the Japan Coast Guard in the U.S.-Japan Alliance
An important alliance objective since the drafting of the 2015 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation has been closing the gap between the U.S. military, Japan Self-Defense Force, and Japan Coast Guard, but progress on this initiative remains incremental owing to enduring institutional and political barriers. Still, the emergence of grey zone threats and the existence of potential flashpoints in the immediate vicinity of Japan ensure that policymakers and alliance managers on both sides continue to recognize the impetus for cooperation between law enforcement and military entities. Though obstacles to progress remain, closer ties are achievable through measured steps: participation of Japan Coast Guard members in strategic dialogues; formal inclusion of the Coast Guard into the Alliance Coordination Mechanism; observation and participation in U.S.-Japan alliance exercises; and presence in bilateral planning efforts.
About the Author
Michael Bosack is a Ph.D. candidate at the International University of Japan’s Graduate School of International Relations. Prior to leaving military service to pursue his Ph.D., he served as the Deputy Chief of Government Relations at Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Japan. There, he was part of the team that drafted and implemented the 2015 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation, and he was one of the founding members of the Alliance Coordination Mechanism. His current doctoral research examines Alliance Theory, specifically focusing on the negotiations and outcomes of the 1997 and 2015 Defense Guidelines between the United States and Japan. Michael is also a former Mansfield Fellow and a graduated East-West Center Fellow.
About the Sasakawa USA Forum
This paper serves as Issue No. 13 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.
Featured image: Japan Coast Guard PL82 Nagura at the Port at the Port of Ishigaki. Wikimedia Commons.