The United States and Japan have announced guidelines aimed at overhauling security arrangements between the two countries. The new joint Defense Guidelines, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “will enhance Japan’s security, deter threats, and contribute to regional peace and stability.”
A central part of the guidelines removes any geographic limits on Japanese forces, allowing Japan’s military, with parliamentary permission, to participate in defense operations anywhere in the world. Under the old guidelines, Japanese and U.S. operations were primarily focused on the defense of Japanese territories. The Guidelines maintain that unwavering commitment to Japan’s peace and security, but now they also include the ability of Japanese Self-Defense Forces, with parliamentary approval, to come to the aid of allies that come under attack. The guidelines, which are not aimed at any third country, note that actions involving the use of force by the United States and Japan will take place in accordance with international law, including full respect for sovereignty.
The United States and Japan stand together in calling for disputes in the region to be resolved peacefully. The U.S., said Secretary Kerry, “reject(s) any suggestion that freedom of navigation, overflight, and other unlawful uses of the sea and airspace are privileges granted by big states to small ones, subject to the whim and fancy of a big state.” U.S. treaty commitments to Japan’s security remain ironclad and cover all territories under Japan’s administration.
The U.S.-Japan alliance has matured and grown in scope over the past 70 years. “Together,” said Secretary Kerry, “we are working to manage the growing threat from North Korea, as well as tensions that are related to maritime security. We are adapting to emerging challenges in outer space, on cyber issues and missile defense.”
The United States remains committed to both Japan’s security and to the security of the region. These new defense guidelines allow the U.S.-Japan alliance to break new ground on existing areas of military cooperation and help to open up new areas for collaboration, not just between the U.S. Armed Forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces, but also including other relevant ministries and agencies.
The new guidelines will ensure a successful and productive future for the U.S.-Japan alliance while promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and around the world.