The role of Japan in United States strategic policy for Northeast Asia

Author/s (editor/s):

Russell Solomon

Publication year:

1986

Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 39

The role of Japan in any U.S. strategic policy will be decided from the outcome of two debates. These two debates, the Japanese security policy debate and the American strategic policy debate, have been conducted within the leading groups of each country. The debates, both independently and at their points of interaction, illustrate the dynamic nature of the problem of forecasting the kind of security role Japan will perform in any future American strategic policy for the Northeast Asian region.

Against a background of a Soviet regional military build-up and increasingly strident American cal1s for Japan to improve its defence capabilities, the Japanese debate signals a growing consensus for an enhanced security role. However, this trend must be severely qualified by the enduring impact of certain constitutional, political and economic constraints upon security policy-making. The importance that certain leading Japanese groups give to the domestic determinants of policy seems to have been discounted by many leading Americans. 

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