Security and Foreign Affairs

The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship and a bulwark for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. In the past few years, Japan has issued a new security strategy, created a national security council, and reinterpreted its constitution to permit collective self-defense. The two countries currently are reshaping the alliance based on the first new bilateral defense guidelines in almost two decades. Japan and the United States also are adapting their foreign policies, individually and together, to reflect regional and global changes.

Sasakawa USA’s Security and Foreign Affairs Program includes research, publications, and events that analyze a range of issues relevant to the U.S.-Japan alliance, while also considering Japan’s relationships with other countries. Current ongoing initiatives include the Maritime Awareness Project, a joint project with the National Bureau of Asian Research that analyzes maritime issues in the Pacific, mapping U.S.-Japan alliance structural connections, and exploring Guam relocation challenges. The program’s capstone event each year is the Sasakawa USA Annual Security Forum, a major conference on the alliance featuring high-level speakers and in-depth discussion.


Sasakawa USA Security Forum

Each spring, Sasakawa USA gathers key security experts and officials from government, business, think tanks, and academia in the United States and Japan for a one-day forum. In-depth discussions center around the year’s developments and new challenges regarding the U.S.-Japan alliance as well as strategies to enhance it for the future.


Japan’s New National Defense Program Guidelines: Alliance Strategies for the Third Post-Cold War Era

On January 11, 2019, in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sasakawa USA organized a symposium to discuss the NDPG. A bilateral group of scholars and former defense officials assessed Japan’s policy priorities and defense capabilities through the lens of its newly revised guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Plan. A book that will bring together the analyses of conference participants will be published in April 2019.

Tabletop Exercise: Pacific Trident II

Sasakawa USA’s Tabletop Exercise: Pacific Trident II, conducted in October 2018, built on the successes of Exercise: Pacific Trident to address U.S.-Japan, U.S.-ROK, and U.S.-Japan-ROK responses to signs of instability and illicit sanctions evasion activities in North Korea.

Japan-Russia Relations: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance

Sasakawa USA hosted a public forum and compiled a book seeking to better understand outstanding historical issues between Japan and Russia, prospects for cooperation in the fields of security, energy, trade, and investment, and the impact of these relations on the U.S.-Japan alliance.


Managing the U.S.-Japan Alliance: An Examination of Structural Linkages in the Security Relationship (Second Edition)

Author: Dr. Jeffrey W. Hornung

Recent changes on both sides of the Pacific Ocean have helped make the U.S.-Japan alliance the strongest it has ever been. This book explores the structural linkages in the U.S.-Japan alliance among the institutional actors—both policy and operational—that communicate and coordinate with one another.

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The Pacific Island Nations and Japan-U.S. Alliance Cooperation

Author: Hideshi Tokuchi, Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at Sasakawa USA

Hideshi Tokuchi is a Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at Sasakawa USA. In this Analysis, he writes about the Pacific Island region and its position in the national interests of a number of major and regional powers, including Japan, China, Australia, and the United States. Tokuchi looks at the challenges and opportunities for the region as its influence evolves and how Japan and the United States can cooperate with the region on their shared vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

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Testing the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK Security Alliances

Author: Admiral Michael McDevitt

Categories: Tabletop Exercise

Tabletop Exercise Pacific Trident II was the second Sasakawa USA tabletop exercise (TTX) exploring trilateral cooperation mechanisms between the United States, Japan, and South Korea in the context of a crisis in North Korea. This report summarizes the exercise, its policy-level insights, and its final recommendations to policymakers in the United States, ROK, and Japan.

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Strategic Distraction: America, China, and Japan in the 21st Century Competitive Space

Author: Sharon Burke, Senior Advisor and Program Director, New America

Categories: Sasakawa USA Alumni

The Honorable Sharon Burke participated in the Sasakawa USA 2017-2018 In-Depth Alumni Research Trip to Japan. In this paper, Burke posits that Japan–playing to its strengths as a security builder–has an opportunity to improve global readiness for the great security challenges of the later part of this century, not all of which are military in nature.

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Adm. Dennis C. Blair
Distinguished Senior Fellow (Non-Resident)

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Christopher Rodeman
Research Fellow and Director of the Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP)

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Tomohiko Taniguchi
Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow

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William “Bud” Roth
Non-Resident Fellow for Cybersecurity

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Hideshi Tokuchi
Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow