Asia
Commentary

Four Takeaways From the New US-Japan Defense Guidelines

in Program

By Yuki Tatsumi: 

On April 27, the United States and Japan released the new Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation. The document, originally created in 1979 to set the parameters for the cooperation between the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in case of military attack against Japan, had been last revised in 1997 after the end of the Cold War. The second and most recent revision began in 2013 and is now complete.

The revision of the Guidelines was driven by both countries’ realization that the increasingly fluid and transnational nature of security threats requires guidelines that allow greater flexibility for the defense planners in both countries. As such, the new Guidelines pursue “seamless, robust, flexible, and effective” bilateral responses and provide “general framework and policy direction” for the cooperation necessary for such responses. Most notably to this end, the new Guidelines announced that the United States and Japan will launch a new standing Alliance Coordination Mechanism to “enhance operational coordination, and strengthen bilateral planning.”

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