US, Japan to Update Defense Guidelines

The United States and Japan will update their defense guidelines by the end of the year, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera during a July 11 joint press conference at the Pentagon. It was the pair’s first meeting since Japan updated its postwar constitution to allow for “collective self defense” activities for its military forces. The decision, Hagel said, will enable Japan to “significantly increase” its contributions to regional and global security, and help complete “historic revisions” to the US-Japan defense guidelines, which have not been updated since 1997. Hagel said he discussed the guidelines with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Onodera at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore in May, and the new guidance should be in place by the end of the year. Onodera said the Japanese will work on issues, such as figuring out which self defense measures are now permissible under Article 9, as well as implementing Japanese legislation to protect “weapons and other equipment of US forces engaged in activities for defense of Japan, and on logistics support for US forces.” Col. Dan Wolf, the Pacific Air Forces chief of advanced warfighter integration, told Air Force Magazine earlier this month he had just returned from Japan where he was briefed on the CSD policy. “We are in a wait and see period, to see how this will trickle down to the military side,” he said. PACAF has “plenty of initiatives” under way, but new guidance may open up new avenues of cooperation.