The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

New de­fense guide­lines out­lin­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the U.S. and Ja­panese mil­i­taries will give a greater role to Tokyo in con­duct­ing re­gional mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties, and boost in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing and joint ef­forts to counter cy­ber and space threats, ac­cord­ing to a an in­terim re­port on the guide­lines made pub­lic Wed­nes­day.

The re­port on the re­vised U.S.-Ja­pan de­fense guide­lines makes no di­rect men­tion of the threat to Ja­pan from China. How­ever, U.S. of­fi­cials said China is Tokyo’s most im­me­di­ate re­gional threat, fol­lowed by North Korea.

China has sharply in­creased mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties and po­lit­i­cal rhetoric against Ja­pan over the East China Sea’s Senkaku Is­lands, which Tokyo owns and Beijing claims as its ter­ri­tory.

China’s naval and mar­itime po­lice forces have sought to ex­ert con­trol over the islets, and U.S. of­fi­cials fear the dis­pute could lead to armed con­flict.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the guide­lines, when for­mally ap­proved by the end of the year, will “en­able the two coun­tries to make ex­panded con­tri­bu­tions to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.”

The guide­lines were last up­dated in 1997, and the cur­rent ef­fort is part of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s so-called pivot to Asia that has in­cluded mainly non­mil­i­tary el­e­ments as a re­sult of the cur­rent de­fense spend­ing cri­sis.

“Look­ing to the fu­ture, the re­vised guide­lines will up­date the gen­eral frame­work and pol­icy di­rec­tion for the roles and mis­sions of the two coun­tries, as well as ways of co­op­er­a­tion and co­or­di­na­tion,” the re­port says.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in­voked the U.S.-Ja­pan Se­cu­rity Treaty last year in warn­ing China not to threaten Ja­pan over con­trol of the Senkakus.

The new guide­lines will im­prove de­fense plan­ning be­tween the two mil­i­taries and ex­pand the al­liances to in­clude multi­na­tional se­cu­rity and de­fense co­op­er­a­tion.

Among the ar­eas where the guide­lines will pro­duce greater co­op­er­a­tion are in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing, train­ing and ex­er­cises, uses of fa­cil­i­ties, lo­gis­tics, air and mis­sile de­fenses, and mar­itime se­cu­rity.

In re­sponse to grow­ing threats from space and cy­berspace, the guide­lines will out­line ef­forts to strengthen the sta­bil­ity in those ar­eas.

“Co­op­er­a­tion on space will in­clude shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about ac­tions and events that might im­pede the safe and sta­ble use of space and co­op­er­a­tive ways to build space re­siliency,” the re­port said. “Co­op­er­a­tion on cy­berspace will in­clude shar­ing in­for­ma­tion from peace­time to con­tin­gen­cies about cy­ber threats and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties as well as strength­en­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity for mis­sion as­sur­ance.”

China is de­vel­op­ing sev­eral space war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing anti-satel­lite mis­siles and lasers. Beijing’s cy­ber war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties also are ad­vanced.

“This in­terim re­port in­di­cates that Tokyo and Wash­ing­ton are up­dat­ing al­liance co­op­er­a­tion to bet­ter meet threats from China and North Korea,” said Rick Fisher, se­nior fel­low at the In­ter­na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter.

“How­ever, it ap­pears that Wash­ing­ton will carry the ma­jor bur­den for ‘of­fen­sive’ op­er­a­tions, which are re­ally ‘de­fen­sive’ in the face of a loom­ing or a first strike, and Ja­pan should have a bet­ter re­gional ‘of­fen­sive’ ca­pa­bil­ity,” Mr. Fisher added.

Also ex­tend­ing al­liance de­fense and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion to coun­tries closely aligned with Ja­pan is very pos­i­tive, in­di­cat­ing Ja­pan could play a role in the de­fense of South Korea, the Philip­pines and Tai­wan, Mr. Fisher added.

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