Japan Has Re-Envisioned Its National Security

Through his cabinet on the 16th of December, the Prime Minister of Japan, Kishida Fumio, approved the adoption of three new security documents: the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and Defense Buildup Program. The current prime minister of Japan has marked a significant turning point in the nation’s post-war policy that had exclusively maintained a focus on defense. At the same time, the United States, through its Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, has applauded Japan’s new national security stance.

The goal of three new security documents is to take a tough new stance on China due to its military actions near Taiwan, North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Through the National Security Strategy document, as reported by The Japan Times, the NSS states Japan, “is facing the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II by those seeking to unilaterally change the status quo by force.” The nation has also increased its defence spending through 2027 of “2% of Japan’s GDP to total some 43 trillion yen,” reported by the Associated Press, in an attempt to allow the government to acquire missiles for counterforce strikes, such as the United States-made Tomahawk cruise missiles.

With Japan’s re-envisioning of its national security, it will establish its first joint command centre to better coordinate its sea, air, and land forces. At the same time, Reuters has reported that the prime minister’s ruling party is discussing with the United States to have joint U.S.-Japan commands, with United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaking, “on their historic new National Security strategy which will help us and our partners achieve lasting peace, stability and prosperity.” As Japan increases its defence capabilities, it reveals an eager United States that wants to continue its work on increasing deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region against its rivals.

On the global stage, when numerous nations have come to the consensus that deterrence will work to prevent their enemies from violating their sovereignty time and time again, it reveals deterrence does more harm than good. In the case of Japan, its new national security strategy hinges on the belief in deterrence in the Indo-Pacific to protect itself from China, North Korea, and Russia. Although it might seem sound, diplomatic talks and economic ties can be used to prevent violence between two nation-states instead of a show of force by increasing Japan’s defence budget and reshaping its national security strategy.

Japan has approved three new documents regarding its national security as an act of deterrence to the deteriorating security situation in the Indo-Pacific. However, at a certain point and time, it must become the norm that deterrence truly does not work to survive a deteriorating security situation. Instead, a peaceful solution through diplomatic talk that brings closer economic ties between nations in the region is a better solution than nations increasingly building their military capacity.