Japanese politics
Unofficially Official: The U.S. Rebalance to Asia-Pacific and  the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan alliance

Unofficially Official: The U.S. Rebalance to Asia-Pacific and the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan alliance

Co-author: Misato Matsuoka* There is a lot of buzz about U.S. rebalancing policy, but at the end of the day it is not a massive policy change from the U.S. perspective and neither is it one from the perspective of U.S. allies and partners, old and emerging ones, in the region. The increase of a...

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Does the Izumo Represent Japan Crossing the "Offensive" Rubicon?

Does the Izumo Represent Japan Crossing the “Offensive” Rubicon?

This is part two of the five-part series on Japan’s security policy as it stands in 2013.  Part one focused on constitutional issues regarding the interpretation of “war potential.” On August 6 last week the JMSDF unveiled its new helicopter “destroyer,” the Izumo (22DDH).[1] While much media and diplomatic fuss has been made about this...

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SDF Capabilities and War Potential

SDF Capabilities and War Potential

Introduction This is part one of a five-part series on pressing issues related to Japan’s security policy in 2013. The first issue that needs to be clarified given various media misunderstandings also provides essential background for the discussion of the subsequent three posts on helicopter “carriers,” amphibious capabilities, and preemptive strike capabilities. War Potential: Constitutional...

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The End of the Twisted Diet: Japanese Security Policy and the Controversies to Come?

The End of the Twisted Diet: Japanese Security Policy and the Controversies to Come?

Over the last two months a significant amount of media coverage on Japan’s security policy evolution has dominated the online sphere. Concerns have been raised about Japan having “offensive aircraft carriers,” developing amphibious capabilities, planning to acquire preemptive strike capabilities, and engaging in debate about Japan exercising its right to collective self-defense. To be sure...

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Medium: Japan: Flat-Tops or Not?

Medium: Japan: Flat-Tops or Not?

  My first article at Medium is out, on Japan’s recent history of naval aviation and future prospects for aircraft carriers. You’ll find it here.

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Australian Warship to 'Embed' with the Seventh Fleet

Australian Warship to ‘Embed’ with the Seventh Fleet

Very much under the radar comes the news that the Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) is about to join the US Seventh Fleet, where it will be  ”embedded” with a US carrier strike group operating out of Yokosuka. Launched in 1980, the warship is only one of four guided-missile frigates operated by the RAN, and...

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Japan and AirSea Battle

I recently finished listening to T.X. Hammes on the Midrats podcast for the second time. If you don’t listen to Midrats you should, particularly when they address Asia/Pacific. I think Sal gets Asia wrong at times, but he and Eagle1 ask good questions. They have good guests, and they let their guests talk (sometimes on and on...

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Shukan Bunshun: Former U.S. State Dept. Japan Hand: Let Us Fight Together!

(Weekly magazine “Shukan Bunshun“; February 21, 2013; By Satoshi Tomizaka. Translation, as always, by a trusty pal.)  Kevin Maher, Former State Department Japan Country Director: “Japan, Let us fight together!” Former State Department Japan Country Director, Kevin Maher stated, “Lighting up the Fire-Control (FC) radar and lock-on is equivalent to an actual attack, and can...

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Japanese Media: Taiwan-Japan Fishing Deal Strategically Significant

Following on from Michal Thim’s ASW post, which contains the details of the deal, the Japanese media reaction has been illuminating, and it appears to be the number one story alongside North Korean missiles on most Japanese news sites. Something appeared to be stirring in late March when it was reported in the Japanese media...

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Senkaku Breakthrough: Taiwan and Japan agree on fishing rights

Japan and Taiwan have signed a ground-breaking agreement on fishing rights that leaves China isolated in the territorial dispute over Senkaku/Diaoyutai islands. According to Taipei Times, major elements of the agreement are: intervention-free fishing zone for Taiwanese fishing boats in waters between 27° north latitude and the Sakishima Islands, Okinawa Prefecture; furthermore, Taiwan is given...

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Coast Guard to pick up retiring Hatsuyuki-class destroyers?

Coast Guard to pick up retiring Hatsuyuki-class destroyers?

The MSDF and Japan Coast Guard are in talks to push retiring Hatsuyuki-class destroyers into service patrolling the Senkaku islands to cover a shortage of mid-term vessel numbers.

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NY Times: "Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism"

NY Times: “Japan Shifting Further Away From Pacifism”

To be sure, the article itself is solid and talks to all the right people, including Professor Richard Samuels and Associate Professor Michishita Narushige who are both outstanding scholars of Japan’s security strategy. Ultimately, despite appearances below, the article doesn’t bother me all that much. But it provides a good opportunity to reflect on a few...

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