US, Japan Bolster Military Ties

    US, Japan Bolster Military Ties
    Last updated Jan 12, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via CNN]


    • The US and Japan announced on Wednesday a significant strengthening of their military relationship, which includes the formation of a US Marine unit on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa designed for intelligence gathering, surveillance, and the ability to fire anti-ship missiles.[1]
    • Both Japan and the US reportedly perceive a greater military threat from China, North Korea, and Russia — especially in light of recent declarations of stronger ties between those three nations.[2]
    • The US and Japan's partnership that calls on each side to come to the other's defense — codified in Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty — is deepened and is extending the scope of their cooperation across land, sea, air, and now into cyber- and outer-space.[3]
    • The reinforced security cooperation "to prevail in a new era of strategic competition" follows a year of US-Japanese talks and comes after Japan last month announced its most extensive military build-up since WWII — reportedly prompted by perceptions of China's increasingly aggressive behavior in the region.[4]
    • Both countries reportedly agreed to adjust the US troop presence on Okinawa, including improving anti-ship capabilities in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or other geopolitical tensions. US Pres. Biden and Japanese PM Kishida will meet Friday to underscore the significance of deepening relations.[5]
    • A senior administration official speaking on condition of anonymity said, “This is about Japan essentially aligning with the United States, in many ways like a NATO ally.”[6]


    Anti-China narrative

    Japan, which holds the largest permanent contingent of US forces overseas, can no longer solely rely on US support — a fact that this latest plan acknowledges. The new strategy fortifies the US and Japan's vigor and will reshape their ability to promote peace and protect the Indo-Pacific region as China attempts to aggressively exert its influence.

    Pro-China narrative

    Japan is groundlessly discrediting China. By adopting this new policy, Japan is putting itself on a more offensive footing, and deviating from its commitment to China-Japan relations and the common understanding between the two countries. Hyping up the so-called "China threat" to find an excuse for its military build-up and alignment with the West is doomed to fail.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 70% chance that Japan Self-Defense Forces will have tested a Tomahawk missile by mid-2027, according to the Metaculus Prediction Community.

    Establishment split



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