Mercy A. Kuo and Angelica O. Tang, thediplomat.com
Insights from David Arase
The Rebalance authors Mercy Kuo and Angie Tang regularly engage subject-matter experts, policy practitioners and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into the U.S. rebalance to Asia. This conversation with David Arase – Resident Professor of International Politics at The Johns Hopkins University Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies, co-editor of The US-Japan Alliance Balancing Soft and Hard Power – awarded the 2011 Ohira Foundation Prize – with forthcoming books: The Rise of China: Implications for East Asian Order, China’s Rise to Supremacy in Asia (editor), and China’s Rise to Asian Predominance – is the twentieth in “The Rebalance Insight Series.”
[Q:] As China aggressively expands its regional and global influence, what is Tokyo’s calculus behind the recent passage of security bills that allow the Japanese government the right to exercise limited collective self-defense (CSD) amid impending threats?
[A:] Because China’s strategic objectives in the East China Sea and South China Sea threaten 1) the viability of the U.S. alliance system in Asia upon which Japan remains critically dependent, 2) Japan’s territorial integrity, and 3) the openness of Japan’s vital trade lifelines, Japan needs additional capabilities and strategic options. Specifically, it needs to throw its weight behind the U.S. to offset China’s strengthening area access/area denial capabilities and its efforts to unilaterally change regional maritime security norms. Limited collective defense permits Japan to assume new roles and obligations under the new U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines. And Japan needs additional diplomatic means to offset Chinese public diplomacy efforts to stigmatize and isolate Japan, as well as to support the regional order and make common cause with other like-minded nations. The new security laws will permit Japan to engage in more defense cooperation, weapons and technology transfer, strategic ODA [Official Development Assistance], and maritime security capacity building assistance with friendly Asian states. ...