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Once again, Pacific security is Japan’s priority

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Japan, emerging from World War II, embraced post-war reconstruction and economic development, relying on the security umbrella provided by the United States.This arrangement allowed Japan to flourish economically while maintaining a pacifist stance as outlined in its 1947 constitution. However, recent geopolitical shifts and security challenges are prompting Japan to reassess its strategic position, particularly in the Pacific.

Japan, long considering the Pacific a backwater, now faces increased tensions, especially from North Korea's ballistic missile launches and China's territorial violations in the East China Sea. The South China Sea's escalating tensions between the Philippines and China also raise security concerns for Japan. Additionally, Beijing's expanding influence in the Pacific, notably in diplomatic relations with island nations, triggers apprehensions in Tokyo.

Metis Insights: Taiwan Strait

Russia's re-emergence as a Pacific power further complicates the region's dynamics, with Tokyo observing Moscow's cooperation with Beijing. Some Japanese security experts advocate for an "East Asian NATO" to counter potential threats, emphasizing the need for reliable allies in the Pacific.

While Japan has reached out to Southeast Asia and India, the paramount interest lies in maintaining U.S. military preeminence in the Pacific. Japan acknowledges the strategic importance of allies like Australia, New Zealand, and France, with the latter offering a direct European connection. As Japan faces economic, political, and demographic challenges, securing reliable alliances becomes crucial.

In potential scenarios, the likeliest involves the deepening alliance between the U.S. and Japan to counter the Chinese threat. This collaboration aligns with Japan's goal of reducing China's influence in the Pacific. Unlikely scenarios include Chinese military action and Western appeasement, with Japan's role pivotal in determining the direction of the U.S.-Japan relationship.

As Japan grapples with evolving geopolitical challenges, the focus on security and alliances becomes central to navigating a complex and changing Pacific landscape. The enduring partnership with the United States remains a cornerstone in Japan's strategic calculations.


Source: GIS Reports