Now the U.S. defense posture is "pivoting" from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific, with the DOD adopting the JOAC or the Joint Operational Access Concept, focusing on the access denial capabilities the PRC has obtained, Japan and its surrounding areas have taken center stage in the US national security calculus. The U.S.-Japan Alliance needs more reinvestment than ever before. Is Japan fit to take up the task as a security provider, not its net consumer? Can the alliance widen its focus still further to safeguard the public common interests that benefit all the partners of the region? Are our two countries capable of investing more into strengthening the alliance in this challenging age of frugality, under a political environment that is shaky at best? Those are the central questions this session will address.
The good news is that after the triple disaster that hit Japan a year ago there emerged ad-hoc yet seamless collaborations between the U.S. Forces and the Japanese forces and later among the three militaries of the U.S., Japan and Australia. This set a precedent for the multinational unity that should be developed to provide security to the entire region. With the traditional hub-spokes model gradually eroding, the alliance architecture should become more multipronged. The bad news, however, needs no elaboration. Tokyo is still self-absorbed with the general elections due anytime soon. Budget constraints appear increasingly burdensome for both the U.S. and Japan. The emergent superpower of China is set to undergo one of its most unpredictable, if not tumultuous, periods. The untested leader of North Korea remains, simply, untested.
Against this backdrop the panel of three experts, two of them having been involved in the US rescue provisions toward Japan, will look into the pending tasks that continue to challenge the two countries, especially their alliance managers. As it is no longer possible for the panel to focus entirely on bilateral issues, the discussions will likely address region-wide aspects as well.
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