Significance of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements
- Maintenance of Japan’s Peace and Security
In the current international community, a robust defense system capable of responding to every contingency, ranging from all types of armed attacks, including the use of nuclear weapons, to coercion or intimidation by military power, is necessary to secure the peace, security, and sovereignty of the nation. However, it is difficult even for the United States to guarantee its security on its own. Much more than that, it would be difficult for Japan to ensure its national security solely through its unilateral efforts given its population, land, and economy. Moreover, such a strategy would not necessarily contribute to regional stability.
Consequently, Japan has maintained its peace and security, centered on the Security Arrangements with the world’s dominant military power, the United States, with which it shares basic values such as democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and a capitalist economy as well as an interest in maintaining the peace and security of the world, and has strong economic ties. Specifically, Japan and the United States will take bilateral action in the event of an armed attack against Japan, based on Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and Japan will provide facilities and areas for the U.S. Forces, based on Article 6 of the treaty. If a nation plans to attack Japan, the attacker must be prepared to confront not only the defense capability of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), but also the overwhelming military strength of the United States, due to the U.S. obligation to defend Japan in the event of an armed attack. As a result, the opposing nation clearly recognizes that it will suffer grievously if it carries out an invasion, and such desires will be abandoned at the planning stage. In other words, this serves as deterrence against attacks. Japan intends to create a seamless posture and secure its peace and security by effectively utilizing the deterrence capabilities of the U.S. military together with Japan’s own national defense architecture.
- Maintenance of Peace and Stability in the Region surrounding Japan
Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty states that contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East is the purpose of the use of facilities and areas by the USFJ. This provision is based on the recognition that the security of Japan is closely tied to the peace and security of the Far East region to which Japan belongs.
In the regions surrounding Japan, there are many states and countries with massive military power, including some states that retain nuclear weapons or continue nuclear development.
In addition, uncertainty over the existing order is increasing due to changes in the balance of power. The so-called gray-zone situations harbor the risk of rapidly developing into graver situations without showing clear indications. In such a security environment, the military presence of USFJ provides deterrence against unexpected contingencies caused by various security issues or destabilizing factors, not only protecting the interests of Japan and the United States but also providing a great sense of security to the nations in the region and thus fulfilling a role as public goods. Also, the close bonds of cooperation based on the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements constitute the foundation of the United States’ commitment to the peace and stability of the region surrounding Japan. These arrangements, complemented by the alliances established between the United States and other countries in the region such as the ROK, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, and also by the friendly relations developed with other countries, play an indispensable role in maintaining the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Further Stabilization of the Global Security Environment
The Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements are the foundation for a comprehensive and friendly cooperative relationship between Japan and the United States, not only in defense but also in a wide range of areas, including politics, economy, and society. The Japan-U.S. Alliance, with the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements at its core, also forms the axis of Japan’s foreign policy. It contributes to Japan’s ability to implement positive efforts to maintain the peace and security of the international community, including the promotion of multinational security dialogue and cooperation, and cooperation with the United Nations.
Currently, we are confronted with global security challenges that are difficult for any single country to tackle alone, including risks concerning stable use of the seas, outer space and cyberspace, the acts of piracy, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and international terrorism, and it is important for countries to work together from peacetime. The strong bonds forged between Japan and the United States are also playing an important role in the efforts implemented by Japan to effectively respond to such challenges.
In particular, under the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, the SDF and the U.S. Forces are working together in peacetime in a variety of areas to strengthen their cooperation. This close coordination lays the foundation for various forms of global collaboration, such as antipiracy, undertaken by the SDF and the U.S. Forces, and leads to enhancement of the operational effectiveness of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements.
The peace and prosperity of the international community are closely linked to those of Japan. Accordingly, by advancing initiatives for resolving global issues in cooperation with the United States, which has remarkable operational capabilities, Japan will be able to further ensure its security and prosperity.