[Paleopsych] National Interest: Alan Dupont: The Schizophrenic Superpower

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Alan Dupont: The Schizophrenic Superpower
Issue Date: Spring 2005, Posted On: 3/17/2005

    When Robert Kagan famously wrote that, in their approach to power and
    security, Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus, what might
    he have said about Japan? In most respects, post-modern Japan has been
    more like Europe than America in preferring diplomacy to force,
    persuasion to coercion and multilateralism to unilateralism. Indeed,
    it might be said that Japan is even further towards the Venusian end
    of the celestial spectrum in its aversion to the instruments
    ofmilitary power. No other country in the world explicitly renounces
    war as a sovereign right; or eschews the threat or use of force as a
    means of settling international disputes; or proscribes land, sea and
    air forces as well as other war potential. This deeply ingrained
    pacifism is all the more remarkable when one considers that Japan is
    not an Asian Costa Rica, but the world's second-largest economy, a
    major financial power and a favored candidate for a permanent seat on
    an expanded United Nations Security Council.

    But there is another Japan--one with a long martial tradition,
    embodied in the ancient samurai of legend, which in the first half of
    the 20th century destroyed Russia's Baltic fleet, colonized Korea,
    invaded China and subjugated Southeast Asia before its eventual
    catastrophic defeat in 1945. Today, Japan is once again a leading
    military power, with the world's third-largest defense budget (after
    the United States and China) and a quarter million men and women under
    arms. Its Self-Defense Force (SDF) is deployed on peacekeeping
    operations around the world, for tsunami relief in Southeast Asia and
    in support of U.S.-led coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq. More and
    more politicians chafe at the self-imposed constitutional restrictions
    on the military and believe that Japan must be more resolute and
    assertive in defending its vital interests, including taking
    pre-emptive military action, when necessary. Prime Minister Junichiro
    Koizumi has talked up constitutional reform and declared his desire to
    see Japan become a "normal country." He has even dared to call the SDF
    what it really is--a modern army, navy and air force.

    Is this a dangerous reawakening of Japan's martial instincts and
    desire for hegemony, as critics maintain? Or are we seeing the
    emergence of a pragmatic new realism that is a natural and
    long-overdue readjustment to the nation's much altered and more
    foreboding external environment? And if so, what will be the strategic
    consequences of a more assertive Japan? Japan is moving away from its
    pacifist past towards a more hard-headed and outward-looking security
    posture characterized by a greater willingness to use the SDF in
    support of Japan's foreign policy and defense interests. This shift is
    evolutionary, not revolutionary. But it is gaining momentum and
    represents a watershed in Japan's postwar security policy that will
    require some new thinking in Washington as well as Tokyo.

    Pacifism's Denouement

    Pacifist sentiment has become so entrenched in modern Japan that the
    country's capacity for change is apt to be discounted, or
    underestimated, even by long-time Japan watchers. Granted, Koizumi's
    robust utterances on national security often run ahead of policy, and
    he is certainly not the first contemporary Japanese prime minister to
    seem like a hawk among doves, as Yasuhiro Nakasone's tenure in the
    1980s reminds us. But the shift away from pacifism is palpable,
    irreversible and more broadly based than Koizumi's alone.

    The most compelling evidence of the sea-change underway in Japanese
    attitudes towards security is the accelerating erosion under Koizumi's
    stewardship of the constitutional and administrative restraints on the
    use of force and collective self-defense. The chief cause is that a
    once-apathetic public is becoming increasingly concerned about the
    deterioration in Japan's security environment, mainly due to the
    spread of transnational terrorism, North Korean antipathy, and China's
    burgeoning economic growth and military power. Recent polls, including
    one conducted by the authoritative Asahi Shimbun newspaper, show that
    a clear majority of Japanese people and parliamentarians are now in
    favor of constitutional revision (kaiken), and nearly half want to
    abandon the prohibition on collective self-defense. Significantly,
    younger people are more inclined to support revising the constitution
    than their parents.

    A contributing factor is the weakening of the coalition of interests
    in the Diet that has long defended the constitutional status quo
    (goken), especially the precipitate decline in influence of the
    left-leaning and traditionally pacifist Social Democratic Party (SDP).
    The eclipse of the SDP and its allies on the political Left has
    increased the probability that the war-renouncing Article 9 of the
    constitution will be rewritten substantially to explicitly recognize
    the existence of the SDF. Other likely amendments will make it easier
    for the government to sanction the SDF's deployment in a wide range of
    contingencies, although these international contributions are likely
    to be limited to non-combat roles for the time being. As a result,
    future Japanese governments will no longer be seriously encumbered by
    constitutional restrictions that have clearly outlived their
    usefulness. Any decision to dispatch the SDF will henceforth be made,
    as in all other countries, according to the political judgement of the
    government of the day and calculations of national interest.

    However, revision of the constitution is not the only reason for
    supposing that Japan is shedding more than half a century of embedded
    pacifism. It is difficult for non-Japanese to appreciate the
    extraordinarily detailed administrative constraints on what would be
    considered normal defense activities in most countries. Some of these
    have bordered on the absurd. One senior Japanese defense official was
    heard to lament that tanks en route to counter an invasion would never
    get there in time because they were required to observe the speed
    limit and stop at red lights. The reason was the almost complete
    absence of mobilization legislation that would give the government
    authority to suspend civil law in the event of a military emergency.

    These impediments have now been largely removed with the June 2004
    passage of seven bills in the Diet. These bills augment contingency
    legislation enacted the previous year and designed to facilitate
    civil-defense cooperation between the national government and the
    prefectural and local authorities in the event of an emergency or an
    attack on Japan. The bills improve military preparedness and
    mobilization by allowing the Japanese and U.S. military to use
    seaports, airports, roads, radio frequencies and other public property
    in an emergency. They also permit the SDF to fire on commercial ships
    outside Japan's territorial waters if they refuse inspection during a

    Koizumi has also steadily whittled away the normative constraints on
    overseas deployments of the SDF. The U.S.-led Operation Enduring
    Freedom to destroy Al-Qaeda's redoubt in the mountains of Afghanistan,
    supported by Japanese destroyers and supply ships, demonstrated
    conclusively that the era of checkbook diplomacy is finally over and
    that henceforth Japan intends to pull its weight militarily within the
    U.S. alliance. Iraq was an even greater break with tradition. In an
    unprecedented decision, Koizumi succeeded in gaining parliamentary
    approval to send some 600 troops to southern Iraq. The troops could
    only be used in non-combat roles. Samawah was selected because it was
    notionally free of conflict, but their very presence confirms that
    Japan has crossed a political Rubicon and that the government is
    determined to make the SDF a more usable and useful force.

    Japan's Strategic Intentions

    What is less clear is how the SDF will be deployed in the future, and
    for what purposes. There are two diametrically opposed views about
    Japan's strategic objectives. Those skeptical of its peaceful
    disposition and benign intentions contend that Tokyo is incrementally
    acquiring the military capabilities and strategic reach to complement
    its economic strength and give effect to long-suppressed regional
    power aspirations. Skeptics argue that Japan's expanding peacekeeping
    activities, government pressure to revise the constitution,
    cooperation with the United States in missile defense, and procurement
    of military platforms and weapons systems that can be used offensively
    are  all evidence of Tokyo's hegemonic intent.

    Pragmatists, on the other hand, consider the changes in Japan's
    security policy to be largely illusory and maintain that the
    government's commitment to defense reform and greater burden-sharing
    within the alliance is rhetorical, rather than substantive. In their
    eyes, Koizumi's promise of military support for the United States in
    Afghanistan fell far short of expectations. And despite the fanfare
    and flag-waving, Japanese forces dispatched to Iraq are serving in
    non-combat roles, forbidden to shoot other than in self-defense. Thus,
    there is very little prospect of Japan becoming more assertive
    globally or contributing much of real strategic value in East Asia,
    other than in the defense of Japan. A corollary is that Japan will
    continue to rely on the United States as a military shield while
    wielding the sword of mercantilism, cultivating a range of partners,
    including U.S. adversaries such as Iran, to hedge against economic

    Curiously, neither side of this debate has grasped the real
    significance of the shift in public opinion or the reorientation of
    security policy that has been under way for more than a decade. A
    close examination of current Japanese attitudes towards security does
    not suggest the collective mindset of a resurgent hegemon. There is no
    political constituency for transforming the SDF into the kind of
    expeditionary force that would be necessary to sustain a new Japanese
    hegemony in Asia. With the possible exception of a small group of
    ultra-nationalists, who continue to harbor delusions of a return to
    some form of imperium, "normalizers" within the major political
    parties evince remarkably modest strategic aspirations.

    Furthermore, the country's aging population and the existence of a
    resilient, mature democracy works against a revival of militarism.
    Given its geostrategic vulnerabilities, energy dependence and
    declining birth rate, Japan is hardly in a position to embark on a
    policy of military adventurism or expansionism in East Asia, not least
    because it would be vehemently opposed by China, Japan's principal
    competitor for regional influence, as well as its major ally, the
    United States.

    Those who fear a return of militarism in Japan also fail to appreciate
    the domestic constraints on defense spending, which is legally capped
    at 1 percent of GDP, far lower than in most comparable countries.
    China, for example, spends 4.1 percent of GDP on defense, the United
    States 3.3 percent, South Korea 2.8 percent, France 2.5 percent, and
    Australia 1.9 percent. In East Asia, only Laos spends less as a
    percentage of GDP. Even a comparison by purchasing power parity shows
    Japan's per capita defense expenditure as around one quarter that of
    the United States and half that of France.

    Although this translates into an annual defense budget of $41 billion
    a year, the third largest in the world, more than 50 percent goes to
    salaries and personnel costs. So the money available for military
    hardware and support systems is less than might be expected for a
    budget this size. Moreover, Japan's defense budget is being stretched
    by research and development related to the U.S. Ballistic Missile
    Defense Program (BMD), which will cost around $1 billion in financial
    year 2004/05 and an estimated $10 billion this decade, all of which
    will have to be absorbed within the existing budget. Thus, the scope
    for order-of-magnitude increases in combat power, particularly
    force-projection capabilities such as aircraft carriers and long-range
    bombers, is limited by fiscal as well as political realities.

    However, eschewing the role of a regional hegemon does not mean that
    Japan should remain forever a strategically neutered superpower while
    others are free to configure the world according to their national
    interests and ideological proclivities. Japan's foreign policy and
    defense elites envisage playing a more constructive role in regional
    and global affairs, free of constitutional shackles, by building and
    shaping institutions and norms according to Japanese values and
    interests. This is what Koizumi means when he talks about Japan
    becoming a "normal" state. It also implies a greater willingness to
    use force and dispatch the SDF on operations beyond Japan's borders in
    coalitions of the willing, as well as UN-sanctioned peacekeeping

    These are developments that should be welcomed, rather than being a
    cause for alarm. What must be remembered is that unlike Europe, where
    war between states has become virtually unthinkable, Japan inhabits a
    region where interstate conflict is still a realistic prospect. It
    would be foolish in the extreme for Japan to emulate Europe's security
    approach, which emphasizes confidence-building measures to resolve
    intramural disputes while reserving force for out-of-area operations.
    The strategic balance in northeast Asia is far less stable and
    predictable than in Europe, and Japan's alliance obligations mandate
    the maintenance of a military capable of modern warfighting both at
    home and abroad. SDF personnel should not be seen as blue-helmeted

    Alliance Implications

    But how durable is Japan's alliance with the United States, the
    foundation stone of its security for the past half century? Could the
    alliance founder, or be fatally weakened, by rising Japanese
    nationalism or by a reassessment in Washington that Japan matters
    less? There are some disturbing portents. Fewer than 10 percent of
    Americans feel close to Japan as a country, and China's emergence as a
    major trading nation has already eroded Tokyo's influence in the halls
    of U.S. commerce and industry. The sense of shared strategic interests
    that once strongly united Japanese and Americans has dissipated.
    Although opinion surveys show that the Japanese public continues to
    express support in principle for the alliance, there is strong local
    opposition to the U.S. presence in areas like Okinawa and Atsugi,
    fueled by resentment over the sexual misconduct of U.S. servicemen and
    the occupation of valuable public land by the U.S. military.

    Even so, it is difficult to envisage the circumstances that would lead
    to a breakdown or hollowing-out of the alliance. After a period of
    neglect during the Clinton Administration, President Bush moved
    decisively in his first term of office to rejuvenate ties with Tokyo,
    reflecting the administration's assessment that a strong, regionally
    engaged Japan is crucial to three important U.S. strategic interests
    in East Asia: balancing China's rising power, providing greater
    logistic and intelligence support for the U.S. military, and
    facilitating U.S. deployments to potential trouble spots. The Pentagon
    knows that for political and strategic reasons it would be virtually
    impossible to replicate the facilities it enjoys in Japan. Guam is too
    far away, and the Vietnamese are unlikely to permit the United States
    to reoccupy its former base at Cam Ranh Bay. Australia and Singapore
    are useful stopovers for deployments in Southeast Asia and the Indian
    Ocean, but not the Taiwan Straits, where any conflict with China is
    most likely to be played out. Furthermore, the global realignment of
    U.S. military forces announced in August 2004 can only enhance Japan's
    strategic value to the United States as its principal Asian ally and a
    key base for troop deployments to the Middle East and Central Asia.

    A more likely scenario is that Japan will remain within the alliance
    but that over time it will seek greater autonomy and equality. By any
    calculation, the alliance is a net strategic benefit for Japan. The
    U.S. nuclear umbrella still provides an unmatchable level of extended
    deterrence against an attack from a nuclear-armed state. This is a
    crucial consideration for Tokyo, since China and Russia are able to
    strike Japan with nuclear-armed missiles and North Korea may well
    possess a handful of rudimentary nuclear weapons and the means to
    deliver them. Moreover, the United States will be an essential
    counterweight to China's growing power as demographic, military and
    economic forces shift decisively in favor of Beijing. Fifty years ago,
    there was one Japanese for every six Chinese; by 2050 the ratio will
    be an unprecedented one to 16, based on current demographic trends.
    While the Japanese economy still dwarfs China's and its military packs
    a powerful punch, Japan's relative position isdeteriorating. If the
    alliance disintegrated, Japan would have to double and perhaps triple
    defense spending to compensate for the loss of the capabilities that
    the United States provides. Even then it could never replicate the
    unique military and intelligence assets that the United States brings
    to the table.

    The real question for Tokyo is how to create more political and
    decision-making space for itself in a security partnership that can
    never truly be one of equals because of the disparities in size and
    strategic weight. Might the U.S. special relationship with the UK
    serve as a model, as former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard
    Armitage and others have suggested? Despite superficial
    similarities--both the UK and Japan are maritime trading states
    anchored off the Eurasian landmass--Japan's vastly different strategic
    circumstances and the absence of the unique historical, linguistic and
    cultural ties that underpin the Anglo-American relationship suggest

    More likely is an evolutionary process in which Japan gains a greater
    say on issues that are central to its security concerns in Asia and
    looks for opportunities to encourage more collaborative behavior in
    its American ally. There are increasing signs of independent thinking
    in Japan's strategic engagement with the United States, which
    Washington must accept and encourage in the interests of a more mature
    and enduring partnership. Much of this is being driven by Japan's
    involvement in BMD and the need to reach agreement with the United
    States on a complex range of associated political and operational

    Currently, Japan is not able to detect and intercept incoming
    ballistic missiles without U.S. assistance, a conspicuous deficiency
    given the established arsenals of China, Russia and North Korea. In
    the absence of a countervailing missile capability, which is forbidden
    under the current interpretation of the constitution, Tokyo has opted
    to participate in BMD research and development. The central aim of
    this ambitious and still controversial enterprise is to construct a
    missile shield able to protect Japan against a limited strike from
    North Korea (although it is unlikely to be an effective prophylactic
    against China's or Russia's more numerous and capable missile forces).

    Joint tests are expected to commence in late 2005, and the proposed
    system, comprising land- and sea-based interceptors, will be activated
    in 2007. Aside from lingering doubts about whether the shield will
    actually work as hypothesized, participation in BMD with the United
    States poses some real policy conundrums for Tokyo. Neighboring
    states, particularly China, are concerned that the expertise acquired
    in sensitive areas of missile technology would be readily transferable
    should Japan decide to develop its own missiles and arm them with
    nuclear warheads. Japanese scientists are involved in research on four
    components of the SM-3 missile--the propulsion system, infrared
    sensors, lightweight nose-cone technology and the kinetic kill
    warhead. China worries that Japan might export missile technology to
    Taiwan, and extending the shield to cover the approaches to the island
    could negate China's current missile advantage over Taiwan.

    Over time, the future architecture and modalities of missile defense
    could significantly alter the power structure of the alliance and
    reshape Japan's approach to national security planning. Successful
    collaboration on missile defense would be a powerful reaffirmation of
    shared U.S.-Japanese strategic interests, accelerating the trend
    towards greater equality within the alliance and stimulating reform of
    the SDF's structure, organization and intelligence systems, as well as
    national security decision-making more generally. Already, Japanese
    officials have indicated their desire to have greater input into BMD
    planning and to share data obtained from the new FPS-XX radar system,
    which will improve the Pentagon's ability to track ballistic missiles
    targeted against the United States. Prudent self-interest dictates
    that Washington should be generous in sharing sensitive missile
    technology with Japan and be prepared to cede a measure of operational
    control over the system itself, if it expects Japan to cooperate
    fully. Conversely, Tokyo must accept that any failure to deploy an
    effective missile defense system or shoot down missiles bound for the
    United States because of constitutional niceties could rupture or
    severely weaken the alliance.

    More fundamentally, Washington and Tokyo both need to pay greater
    attention to alliance management, policy coordination and addressing
    the imbalances in their strategic partnership. The best metaphor to
    describe the way the alliance works in practice is the hub (the United
    States) and radiating spokes (Japan, Australia, South Korea and
    Thailand) of a wheel. The critical dialogue is between the hub and the
    spokes, seldom between the spokes themselves. If the alliance is to
    adapt and prosper in today's vastly different strategic circumstances,
    the essentially uni-directional pattern of dialogue has to become more
    multi-directional and the alliance less dominated by U.S. interests
    and policy preoccupations. This will mean moving towards a more
    consultative, European style of alliance, which will provide Japan,
    Australia and the other allies with enhanced opportunities for
    ameliorating Washington's unilateralist tendencies and sensitizing
    U.S. policymakers to Asian security perceptions and political
    realities. In exchange, the United States should expect greater
    burden-sharing and collegiality in dealing with common security

    Calming the Dragon

    As the alliance is recast, Japanese and U.S. policymakers need to
    consider how best to reassure a nervous Beijing that a reinvigorated
    Japan, working in close cooperation with the United States in Asia, is
    not a threat to China. This will be no easy task because of the
    widespread view in Chinese policy and military circles that Tokyo's
    strategic shift foreshadows a more assertive and possibly adversarial
    Japan. Of course, there is nothing new or surprising in this reaction,
    as Sino-Japanese rivalry has deep historical roots. It is manifest
    today in Chinese anxieties about Japan's support for Taiwan and BMD
    and resentment over legacy issues, notably Koizumi's repeated visits
    to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead but in Chinese
    eyes is a symbol of the country's imperial past. Until recently, these
    anxieties have been moderated by Japan's constitution and Beijing's
    recognition that the U.S. alliance has prevented a revival of Japanese
    military power. But as Japan breaks free from its constitutional
    shackles and the Red Sun makes its reappearance across the globe on
    the uniforms and flags of a reconstituted military, Chinese
    strategists are drawing conclusions that are troubling for future
    Sino-Japanese relations.

    Among them is the belief that Japan wants to be a military as well as
    an economic power; that it is moving from a preoccupation with
    self-defense to accepting the broader alliance objectives of
    collective self-defense; that it is developing the capability to
    intervene militarily in the region; that the Koizumi government is
    playing up the North Korean threat so that it can break the
    constitutional taboo on collective self-defense; and that it is
    concealing its real strategic intentions by using peacekeeping and the
    War on Terror to desensitize the region to an expanded military

    Mirroring their neighbor's concerns, Japan is distinctly uneasy about
    recent double-digit increases in Chinese military spending, the
    acquisition of advanced fighter aircraft and naval vessels from
    Russia, the rapid pace of defense modernization, and the build-up of
    China's missile inventory. Such apprehensions are understandable.
    China's recently purchased advanced Kilo-class submarines can
    interdict the main maritime trade routes that are crucial to Japan's
    economic survival. Since 2000, there has been a dramatic rise in the
    frequency of Chinese naval incursions into Japan's exclusive economic
    zone (EEZ). Tokyo is particularly concerned about Chinese hydrographic
    surveys and oil drilling near the EEZ, as well as what appear to be
    intelligence-gathering operations by Chinese submarines, dramatically
    illustrated in November 2004 by the highly publicized incursion of a
    Han-class nuclear-powered submarine into Japanese waters near Okinawa.

    Tensions have already flared over a number of unresolved territorial
    disputes at sea, notably the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese),
    which are located near rich deposits of oil and natural gas in the
    underlying sea bed. So far, these have been confined to polemical
    exchanges between Tokyo and Beijing and symbolic protests by Chinese
    activists. But the potential for miscalculation will increase as an
    energy-hungry China steps up its oil-exploration activities in the
    seas around the Senkakus and Japan responds by augmenting its maritime
    patrols and surveillance of the region. Already there are signs that
    for the first time the Koizumi government will allow Japanese oil
    companies to drill in a disputed area of the East China Sea, which
    would inevitably inflame anti-Japanese sentiment in China.

    A critical issue for Japan is how a conflict between the United States
    and China over Taiwan would play out. In the event of hostilities,
    there is little doubt that the United States would expect Japan to
    provide intelligence and rear-area support for the U.S. carrier groups
    that would be dispatched to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
    This would expose the SDF to a Chinese counterstrike and risk drawing
    Japan into direct combat with China for the first time since World War
    II, the consequences of which would be incalculable for both

    Thus, paradoxically, mutual mistrust is growing in parallel with
    deepening economic interdependence. The challenge for Japan is
    managing relations with China so that bilateral tensions do not lead
    to open conflict or spill over and infect the wider region. This will
    require a much higher level of trust between the two Asian powers than
    has been evident to date and a willingness to consider new mechanisms
    for mediating and preventing disputes so that major crises can be

    Unfortunately, with the notable exception of the Six Party Talks on
    North Korea, neither Japan nor the United States has given sufficient
    priority to including China in strategies for mitigating existing
    conflicts and preventing new ones from arising. On the contrary, the
    impression has been created in Beijing that closer U.S.-Japanese
    security cooperation is premised on containing China and diluting its
    military power. Missile defense is illustrative, as is the developing
    trilateral security dialogue (TSD) between the United States, Japan
    and Australia, which was established in 2001 at the U.S.-Australian
    ministerial talks in Canberra. From Beijing's perspective, the TSD
    looks suspiciously like the first step on the road to forming a new
    security bloc in Asia aimed at containing China. While Chinese fears
    that the TSD could evolve into an Asian-style NATO are misplaced and
    China should not be permitted to exercise a veto over U.S.-Japanese
    security cooperation, it makes no sense to antagonize Beijing by
    further institutionalizing the TSD and transforming it into a clubby,
    de facto trilateral alliance. A far better approach would be to create
    a security mechanism that allows China to  discuss northeast Asia's
    many intractable security problems directly with Japan and the United

    Such a mechanism already exists in the form of the Six Party Talks,
    which were established in 2003 to defuse and resolve the North Korean
    nuclear problem and which include all the northeast Asian states as
    well as the United States. China has rejected previous attempts to
    inaugurate a sub-regional security arrangement, fearing that it could
    be used as a vehicle for foreign intervention and meddling in China's
    affairs, especially Taiwan. But Beijing is more comfortable with the
    format of the Six Party Talks and feels some ownership of the process.
    So there is every prospect that the Chinese would be favorably
    disposed to broadening the scope and agenda of the talks atsome future
    date. Enlarging the Six Party Talks would be an important
    confidence-building measure and would provide strategic reassurance to
    China that should help soften its opposition to extended U.S.-Japanese
    defense cooperation.

    The Way Ahead

    The principal conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that
    Tokyo's desire to pursue a more proactive security policy is not an
    unreasonable response to the more threatening and volatile security
    environment it faces. After nearly six decades of quasi-pacifism, it
    is time for Japan to move beyond the ideals of the post-World War II
    peace constitution and participate more fully in building and
    sustaining regional order and combating the emerging threats to
    security. Although fears that Japan might revert to militarism are
    real, they are ill conceived. Democracy and the rule of law are firmly
    entrenched, some constitutional restrictions on the use of force will
    remain, and the U.S. alliance ensures that Japan has no need for the
    nuclear weapons or major force-projection capabilities that would be
    inherently destabilizing and set off alarm bells in the region.

    While the alliance once had been likened to dosho imu--lovers sharing
    the same bed but dreaming different dreams--Tokyo and Washington are
    increasingly sharing the same dreams. However, the administration
    needs to recognize that for all Koizumi's reforming zeal in foreign
    affairs and defense, domestic and regional realities will continue to
    circumscribe Japan's capacity to support the United States militarily.
    For its part, Tokyo must accept that a regression to the lackluster
    economic performances of the previous decade and a perceived
    unwillingness to pull its weight militarily could one day force a
    hard-headed reassessment of Japan's strategic and economic value in
    Washington and elsewhere. A weakened U.S.-Japanese alliance and the
    beginning of a long-term decline in Japanese power could foreshadow an
    extended period of uncertainty and destabilizing strategic change that
    would be detrimental to both countries' interests. A diminished,
    less-influential Japan would weaken Washington's voice in Asia's

    The best way to preclude this outcome is for the administration to
    keep relations with Japan at the top of its Asian policy agenda, in
    recognition of Japan's centrality to the alliance and to East Asia's
    stability. However, in his eagerness to enlist Japan in the War on
    Terror and in support of U.S. global security interests, President
    Bush must be careful not to be too prescriptive or to pressure Tokyo
    into decisions on military acquisitions and deployments that raise the
    specter of a resurgent Japanese hegemon. At the same time, Bush must
    make clear his opposition to Japan acquiring nuclear weapons or major
    power-projection capabilities such as long-range bombers or aircraft
    carriers. This would be inherently destabilizing and ultimately
    antithetical to Japan's own security interests.

    Finally, Chinese insecurities will have to be addressed. Although the
    old adage that two tigers cannot live together peacefully on the same
    mountain no longer holds true in today's global village--where tigers
    of all kinds coexist to mutual benefit--amicable Sino-Japanese
    relations cannot be assumed. Some creative new security architecture
    is required to help manage and alleviate the inevitable tensions
    ahead. U.S. policy has to be mindful of China's legitimate security
    concerns but strike an appropriate balance between kowtowing and
    needless hostility to Asia's rising power.

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