Updating US, Japan Defense Cooperation

New guidelines are under revision for the US-Japan Defense Cooperation, addressing changes in threats, Japan’s policies towards the security environment in Northeast Asia, and operations in space and cyberspace, according to an Oct. 8 release. The new guidelines capture the “greater scope of our alliance cooperation,” one official said, reflecting the broader nature of defense cooperation activities today. The areas now under discussion cover joint information sharing, cooperation in space, non-combatant evacuations, intelligence sharing, air and missile defense, logistics support, and other issues. From the Japanese perspective, the revisions correspond to its new security posture and how it is affected in the aftermath of the Shinzo Abe government’s decision to lift the ban on Japanese troops fighting beyond the country’s home islands, the so-called collective self defense ban. The report is only an interim report, the officials suggested, and there is more work to be completed before the final guidelines are issued by the end of the year. The update to the guidelines, which are the result of agreements from last year’s “2+2 Talks” between the US and Japanese Defense Secretaries, the Japanese foreign minister, and US Secretary of State, are the first revisions since 1997.