Japan Looks South: China’s Rise Drives New Strategy


WASHINGTON: You’d expect the top admiral in the Japan Self-Defense Force to talk about defending Japan. But Adm. Tomohisa Takei surprised me on his latest visit to Washington — his third in 10 months — with a speech that clearly demonstrates how Japan is broadening its strategic perspective. The new view from Tokyo takes in the Indian Ocean and, especially, the disputed South China Sea. Driving this change, of course, is an alarmingly assertive China.

To quote analyst Andrew Krepinevich, who visited Japanese commanders earlier this year, “the combination of rising threats, declining confidence in the US, and the reinterpretation of Article 9 are both compelling and enabling the Japanese to think more broadly and strategically about their security.”

What is striking about the new Japanese approach? Takei made no mention of North Korea, which has test-fired missiles over Japan, or the Senkaku Islands, claimed by China, or a resurgent Russia, Japan’s neighbor to the north. In his remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the admiral didn’t even talk much about “the Pacific,” preferring the more expansive “Indo-Pacific” (at least 14 times, by my count).

Read more: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/08/japan-looks-south-chinas-rise-drives-new-strategy/