Two decades have passed since the cold war ended and the world is on the brink of a new era. Even though security threats from non-state actors have persisted, the relationship between the powerful nations is considerably changing (Colombier et al., 2009, p. 7).
India and China have become significant players in the global security matters (Ikenberry & Inoguchi, 2010, p. 383). In addition, U.S is currently facing severe economic and security problems (Weiss, 2000, p.21).
Within the vicinity, North Korea has refused to adhere to the six-party talks (Okano-Heijmans, 2010, p.364). Furthermore, the world order that has been dominated by U.S following the end of Second World War is also changing very fast (Weiss, 2000, p.22).
At this decisive point in global history, Japan’s national politics has been subjected to uncertainty and confusion ever since Koizumi relinquished power. There has never been a common ground on matters of security between the ruling party and opposition (Okano-Heijmans, 2010, p.363).
Therefore, it is very important that we work together to forge a common ground on our national security policies. As a result, the government in conjunction with other stakeholders came up with the following security strategy, largely with respect to national defence.
The strategy entails new policy recommendations that are meant to tackle the current security challenges (Sato & Hirata 2008, p. 3).
National Security Strategy
Japan has always pursued broad-spectrum national strategy in the post-war era (Hughes, 2004, 208). However, this strategy must be followed by sensible directives for execution and sub-strategies to realize our objectives and interests in different fields (Okano-Heijmans, 2012, p. 62).
The new national security strategy is aimed at ensuring peace and security both locally and globally, taking into consideration our national values and interests, at present and in the projected future.
Therefore, the new strategy is not rigid but rather flexible and is developed based on the prevailing conditions facing our nation (Okano-Heijmans, 2012, p. 63).
Japan’s present security environment
Following the end of the Cold war and the subsequent September 11 terrorist attack, the global security environment has been taking a different dimension (Colombier et al., 2009, p. 7).
Globalization and technological advancements have largely improved the transport and communication infrastructure. In other words, they have transformed the world into a global village (Bosman &Van Winden 2005, p. 6).
At the same time, they have resulted into new threats, for instance, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Non-state actors, particularly terror organizations, have taken advantage of globalization and technological progress to expand their networks and increase their activities (Bosman &Van Winden 2005, p. 7).
The world is also experiencing new types of conflicts as a result of religious, ethnic, and historical disputes. The civil war- type conflicts and failed states have been on a rise (Kitaoka & Tonaka, 2008, p.12).
Numerous security reports have revealed that most countries or regions affected by the civil-war type of conflicts have become breeding grounds for terror groups and hence are a major threat to international security (Kitaoka & Tonaka, 2008, p. 14).
Despite of the fact that more energy is being focused on the emerging threats, the traditional security threats are still very important (Pyle, 2007, p. 2). Even though the likelihood of other states invading Japan has greatly reduced, there are numerous security threats from our neighbours.
There are fears that North Korea is developing Nuclear Weapons and ballistic missiles in contravention with the U.N charter (Okano-Heijmans, 2010, p. 364). China is rapidly emerging as a great power both militarily and economic wise.
In addition, there have been increasing uncertainties regarding Taiwan and other Asian states on maritime and territorial matters (Okano-Heijmans, 2012, 63). Inter-state conflict can not be taken for granted given the recent invasion of Georgia by Russia (Bosman &Van Winden 2005, p. 9).
Boosted by their rapid economic growth, China and India are increasingly becoming major players in the global arena, despite of their numerous domestic challenges (Hagstrom, 2008, p.132).
Russia, making the most of their mounting power as a result of increased oil revenues, has been pursuing hard line stance in global matters as if to get rid of the embarrassment it endured after the cold war.
Besides, its recent attack on Georgia demonstrates that it can take military steps if necessary in the face of conflict with other nations including the U.S (Bosman &Van Winden 2005, p. 9).
The European Union is also expanding and is playing a major role in global security matters (Glosserman, 2011).
In the midst of the above changes, the United State’s influence is considerably declining (Colombier et al., 2009, p. 7). The U.S. invasion in Iraq and other unsuccessful military policies have made the U.S. citizens to be very sensitive to war-related costs.
In addition, the U.S. is still struggling with the effects of 2007/2008 crisis and has really impacted on its capacity to act unilaterally on global matters (Colombier et al., 2009, p. 8).
Nonetheless, the role of the U.S in global security matters is still crucially important. The U.S. military spending and defence related research and development budget go beyond other nations (Colombier et al., 2009, p. 9).
Even though countries have shifted their security policies to emerging threats, the role of military power is still crucial in tackling any form of threat including the irregular threats from the terror groups, conventionally adapted threats from North Korea and Iran, and peace missions all over the world.
These roles are in most cases shouldered by the U.S (unilaterally or partially) because of its massive military power. There are few global security matters that can be solved without U.S. intervention (Bosman &Van Winden 2005, p. 12).
Japan’s new security strategy
The new strategy takes into consideration the country’s national interests. These interests can only be achieved through a multifaceted and joint security strategy (Samuels, 2007, p. 23).
Having explored the past and prevailing security threats, we have reached a conclusion that our new security strategy must be handled in four different levels and in a joint manner.
The first level is our own defence capacity, secondly our ties with the U.S, thirdly our relationship with our neighbours, and lastly our participation in the global security matters (Ikenberry & Inoguchi, 2010, p. 385).
Japan’s defence capacity
Regardless of the fact that the likelihood of any attack on our country is low, we are faced with numerous threats and situations that necessitate action (Okano-Heijmans, 2010, p.363).
Our current strategy is fundamentally correct; however it is somehow rigid (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 14). The new strategy pursues multifaceted and flexible defence directive that would strengthen our already burdened forces.
The new strategy is also pursuing joint operations among all military departments to achieve the multi-functionality and flexibility objective (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 18).
Currently, the most probable threat against our nation is ballistic missiles. These missiles equipped with nuclear warheads can cause unimaginable devastation. Hence, dealing with ballistic missiles is our top priority (Hughes, 2004, p. 212).
Ballistic missile defence system alone is not enough since it does not guarantee 100 percent safety. Therefore, ballistic missile defence system must be supplemented by punitive measures (counter-strikes).
Our country will strengthen our alliance with the U.S to directly attack missile launching sites if necessary (Hughes, 2004, p. 214).
Even though Taiwan channel is calm at the moment, the root cause of its conflict has not been resolved (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 22). Despite of the fact that we are advocating for dialogue and cooperation between our country and the two neighbours, we should also be ready for the worst.
China has continued to strengthen its navy and air force, regardless of the calm in the Taiwan channel over the recent years.
Given our proximity to the Taiwan channel, we must reinforce our military balance in collaboration with United States by increasing the capacity and promptness of our marine guards and the defence forces in the neighbouring waters.
This will be achieved by procuring state of the art anti-submarine and surveillance equipments (Jimbo, 2012, p. 3).
Our country is also under threat from the emerging security challenges, for instance, global terror organizations. In Japan like many other democratic states, military does not play a huge role in counter-terrorism measures.
However, with technological advancement and probable military training of the terrorist groups, Japan is considering incorporating defence forces in counter-terrorism response through necessary legal arrangement and crisis management.
This will ensure that military missiles are placed on high alert to counter any terrorist activity. The main objective of our strategy (defence strategy) is to avert any form of attack against our country (Jimbo, 2012, p. 4).
At the same time, we also need an emergency plan and preparation in case the attack is inevitable.
We have established a mechanism through which all security apparatus and the local governments would be able to work together in order to protect our people and crucial facilities from attack (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 23).
Japan’s alliance with U.S, neighbours and global community
Japan’s tie with the United States is the cornerstone of its security as compared to its own efforts (Venning, 2012). The alliance between U.S and Japan has a major stake in global security, though always ignored.
We have come up with guidelines for Japan-U.S. military cooperation and bilateral defence planning. This will help to effectively tackle contingencies or situations that threaten our national security.
Furthermore, we are working together to realize a common strategic objective by sticking to the values and principles agreed upon during our security consultative meetings in 2005 and 2006.
Japan will also work closely with the U.S. in pushing North Korea to adhere to the international laws governing nuclear weapons. Japan’s cooperation with U.S. will go beyond the regional context (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 25).
Asian Pacific region has no comprehensive regional security frame work (Jimbo, 2012, p. 5). The existing multilateral security frameworks are ineffective.
Our country for a long time has always desired a well-established regional security system that complements our bilateral alliance with the U.S. Therefore, our government will push for a strong regional multilateral security alliance that will guarantee regional stability.
This wills also contribute to confidence building between U.S. allies and our neighbours. Simultaneously, it will resolve security challenges in our region (Jimbo, 2012, p. 6).
The new strategy also aims at ensuring that our country takes part in the global peace initiatives. Our participation in global peace operations has been dwindling over the recent past.
This is partly attributed to the legal constraints which prevents our military from effectively carrying out global assignments (Okano-Heijmans, 2012, p. 70).
Therefore, Japan is committed in amending its military laws that would allow the country to actively participate in global peace keeping (Kitaoka & Tonaka 2008, p. 26).
In addition, the country will increase the official development assistance to the U.N security agencies, despite of the fact that we are still struggling to avert the effects of the tsunami disaster. This demonstrates our commitment to global security matters.
Our world today is full of threats but also opportunities. Even as we face the challenges in front of us, we must focus our attention beyond them.
Our focus should always be on a world in which Japan is economically stronger and more secure, and is capable of rising above its challenges as one nation.
An active and capable Japan will contribute to effective multilateral security systems which will promote a safer, just and more cohesive world.
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