PacNet #3 – The 118th Congress and China policy—Continuity over change in defending America

The dramatic display of factional politics and personal ambitions seen among Republicans in the selection of House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) marred the start of the 118th Congress. They reflected realities of divisive domestic politics impacting US policy in recent years. Despite this background, the resolve and momentum of bipartisan congressional majorities has grown over the past five years to be an enduring and driving force in defending America against dangers posed by China.

Continuity

Since 2018, Congress has become more important than ever in making US China policy, with a focus on defending America from wide-ranging and often very serious security, economic and governance challenges posed by the Chinese government. In this five-year period, Congress did not follow common practice since Richard Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 of resisting administration initiatives in relations with China. Also in this five-year period, a past pattern of Congress competing with the administration for control of foreign policy was overshadowed by close symbiosis between bipartisan congressional majorities and a Republican and a Democratic president resisting China’s challenges.

Partisanship remained secondary as far as China policy was concerned. Congressional action against China was driven by calculations of congressional members. They persevered despite little support and poor understanding of the need for such dramatic change from public opinion and media until 2020; they offset resistance from strong domestic interests. The members were notably more resolved than President Trump and Democratic Party candidate Joseph Biden in countering China’s challenges.

Recent momentum

Entering office, President Biden soon put aside past ambivalence about Chinese dangers and brought his views in line with congressional majorities. He supported a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, warning of China’s ambitions to dominate the fourth industrial revolution and advising “we can’t let them win.” The warning meshed well with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s concurrent extraordinary legislation to advance American technology to counter China. He said the alternative was a world where “the Chinese Communist Party determines the rules of the road.”

The infrastructure bill and another bill curbing US imports of products coming from “forced labor” in concentration camps in Xinjiang had bipartisan congressional support. Many provisions targeting China in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Consolidated Appropriation Act for FY 2022 added momentum.

2022 was even more consequential. Just before the congressional recess in August, Schumer’s initiative, the $280 billion Chips and Science Act, became law supporting US competition with China in high technology industries and military forces dependent on high technology. Seventeen Republican senators and 24 Republican representatives voted for the bill. Concurrently, Senate Democrats compromised differences allowing passage of a $369 billion climate change and tax package, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Though not supported by Republicans for reasons unrelated to China, the bill’s many provisions targeting China reflected bipartisan congressional preferences.

In October, the Biden government imposed sweeping export restrictions designed to hobble China’s ability to manufacture or acquire high technology computer chips, helping to meet congressional concern about China’s advances in high technology threatening the United States. Other measures explicitly defending America against Chinese threats that garnered general congressional approval were initiating and strengthening the Quad alignment of Australia, India and Japan with the United States; the  AUKUS agreement involving Great Britain and Australia;  the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) involving 13 regional governments; the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) led by the G7 countries; and the Blue Pacific Partners including regional powers, the United States and Great Britain focused on the Pacific Islands.

American policy toward Taiwan prompted strong debate for several weeks leading up to the visit of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on Aug. 2 and over four days of provocative Chinese military shows of force surrounding the island. The Biden government remained in step with Congress as it reacted with firm resolve, avoiding weakness in the face of Chinese pressure. Administration and congressional efforts to defend Taiwan went forward, creating circumstances, which along with other developments, appeared to prompt China to adopt a more positive posture toward the United States at and after the summit meeting of the two presidents on Nov. 14. The new Chinese posture included resumption of high-level China-US communications halted because of the Pelosi visit.

Administration-congressional differences over requirements and wording of the Taiwan Policy Act introduced at this time were met by moderating the requirements and language and including the provisions in the broad ranging National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed at the end of the year. China reacted to the bill with one day of unprecedented warplane activity around Taiwan—registering strong opposition without reversing Beijing’s new flexibility toward the Biden government.

Outlook for 2023

Momentum of congressional-executive symbiosis seeking to defend America from Chinese challenges is stronger than ever and growing, arguing for continuity in the coming year and more. Possible challenges that may complicate but are unlikely to upset recent momentum include partisan attacks by the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, weakened but still important influence of America First advocates in the Republican Party seeking to withdraw from costly international involvement, and as yet not evident growth in Chinese moderation leading to differences among US strategists on the strengths and weaknesses of China’s challenges and  appropriate US responses.

Heading the list of current congressional priorities are oversight and implementation of recent initiatives. The large expenditures targeting China in the Chips and Science bill and the Inflation Reduction Act as well as the administration’s export curbs on high technology chips to China warrant careful oversight to ensure money is well spent, resulting innovations are not stolen by China and promised export curbs are not weakened by exceptions. In addition, the Biden administration and congressional leaders seek to monitor and likely curb large scale US investment in China. US portfolio investment was $368 billion up to the end of 2016 but was $781 billion over the next four years.

The NDAA passed in December made clear congressional concerns, likely warranting oversight hearings and other investigations, about buttressing US military capacities in the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a variety of other programs. Taiwan got special attention given growing and threatening Chinese military power.

Other likely congressional actions involve investigating and curbing Chinese espionage, penetration of US government high technology laboratories and advanced university facilities, unauthorized activities of Chinese government security agents in the United States, and covert and overt Chinese influence operations involving universities, media, think tanks and related public policy organizations.

The new leadership of the House of Representatives and its proposed China Select Committee promises opposition to Chinese purchase of US agricultural land and Beijing’s involvement in the fentanyl epidemic plaguing America, as well as attention to ongoing issues of concern regarding supply chain risks and deceptive trade practices.

The Republican leaders have avowed a strong interest in continued bipartisanship in dealing with China related issues. It remains to be seen if Democrats will be allowed and will be willing to join the China Select Committee. Off-setting bipartisanship are likely moves seen as partisan. For example, Republicans are expected to investigate the implications of the involvement of President Biden’s son in past business deals with China. To conclude, another avowed Select Committee priority is to investigate and highlight Chinese malfeasance in handing the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, with the chairman of the Committee believing that COVID emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan that had engaged in dangerous research which was funded by the US government.

In sum, congressional-administration efforts to defend America from often very serious challenges and danger posed by Chinese government behavior have momentum and will advance in 2023, reinforced by some initiatives by the Republican-led House of Representatives and distracted by others.

Robert Sutter (sutterr@gwu.edu) Professor of Practice of International Affairs, George Washington University, served as lead China analyst and later Director of the Foreign Affairs Division during 24 years with the Congressional Research Service.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

Photo: The People’s Republic of China flag and the U.S. flag fly on a lamp post along near the U.S. Capitol in Washington during then-Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit, January 18, 2011 (2 July 2021, REUTERS) by Hyungwon Kang

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, WP7 – Rising from the Ashes: The Future of Arms Control

Abstract

This paper employs a comparative approach to provide an initial comprehensive analysis of the political interactions, contemporary nuclear policies, and military strategies and capabilities of China, Russia, and the United States in the context of the unstable international security landscape. At a time when the global arms control regime is teetering on the brink of disintegration, the authors aim to offer practical and feasible policy recommendations for remodeling the arms control regime from the Chinese and Russian perspectives. The authors stress the need to revive “traditional” arms control and advocate the search for ways to control emerging military technologies. This paper endeavors to present a two-pronged vision proposed by representatives of two major global players.

Click here to download the full paper.


About the Authors

Victor Mizin is a leading research fellow at the Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) and a senior research fellow at the Center of International Security Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations. He is a member of of the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission. He was a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia/Soviet Union). He served at the Russian mission to the United Nations as a political affairs counselor and was an inspector of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission. He was a senior research fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in the United States. He received a PhD from the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1991. He participated as an adviser in arms-control negotiations, including START I and START II, INF, SCC on the ABM Treaty, Conference on Disarmament, and the UN Disarmament Commission.

Yue Yuan is a PhD candidate of China Foreign Affairs University and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University). She is an ACONA fellow (2021–2022) of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She is pursuing research on space security policy, China-US-Russia relations, and nuclear arms control and disarmament. She worked with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research’s space security team and the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute. She holds a dual master’s degree in international affairs from MGIMO University in Russia and nonproliferation and terrorism studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in the United States.

Introduction: An Alliance Renewed? Future-proofing U.S.-Japan Security Relations

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Introduction

On September 8, 1951, the Security Treaty between the United States and Japan was signed, marking the beginning of an alliance relationship that would serve as the cornerstone of regional peace, security, and prosperity in the decades that followed. Forged in the aftermath of the Second World War, at a time when a new post-war international order was being crafted around the United Nations, and an emergent superpower rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was taking shape, the alliance has endured both economic shocks and geopolitical change. The alliance’s resilience is partly due to its ability to adapt to the changing strategic environment enabled by the willingness of both sides to reconcile, compromise,  and prioritize the welfare and security of their peoples. In 1960, the relationship evolved significantly. The Security Treaty was replaced by the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, granting the United States a permanent presence in Japanese territories in exchange for defending Japan in the event of an armed attack.

When the Cold War ended, the alliance did not fall into obscurity. Instead, it continued to adapt. Alliance managers found negotiating expectations and future responsibilities prudent given new realities. This culminated in the release of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation in 1997. The Guidelines created a “solid basis for more effective and credible U.S.-Japan cooperation under normal circumstances, in case of an armed attack against Japan, and in situations in areas surrounding Japan.” Soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) were dispatched in support of combat operations  overseas for the first time, initially to the Indian Ocean to assist U.S. operations in Afghanistan, but later also to Iraq to help in reconstruction. The SDF continued to carve out a broader international role by engaging in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in South and Southeast Asia. Regional countries welcomed Japan’s de facto armed forces to their shores, alongside those of the United States, as they coped with natural disasters such as the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 that impacted countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 that killed over 6,000 in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, as North Korea pressed on with its nuclear and missile development programs in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, and as the region grows weary of the security implications of China’s rise, including effort to operationalize illegal claims in many of the region’s maritime commons, the U.S.-Japan alliance remained responsive. In 2015, Japanese policymakers reinterpreted their constitution and allowed the SDF to exercise the right to collective self-defense, for instance, by defending U.S. vessels subjected to an armed attack. Japan’s embrace of collective self-defense, already enshrined in the UN Charter, resulted in the revision of the 1997 Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, making the alliance even more relevant to the rapidly changing security environment.

In 2022, the alliance is, in many ways, at a crossroads. The United States, under the Trump and Biden administrations, is no longer an anchor of trade liberalization, and both administrations have sought to recalibrate U.S. relationships with close allies in the context of growing challenges to the rules-based order that defined the last three decades. While the alliance has endured, there are challenges, some of which are domestic, that will continue to test the security relationship. For instance, the planned relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which to many Okinawans does not address the overwhelming presence of the U.S. military in Okinawa, the issue of burden sharing in the alliance, the defense of Taiwan, and the demand for Tokyo to dramatically increase defense budget to over 1% of GDP to better cope with the increasingly unfavorable regional balance of power will persist and have to be managed. It is vital that next-generation Japanese and Americans are involved in these economic and security discourses and are mutually invested in the growth of their countries’ partnerships.

It is within this context of change, with the challenges confronting the U.S.-Japan alliance in flux, that our contributors shed light on some of those critical questions that will undoubtedly define not just the future of U.S.-Japan relations but the trajectory of international order in the coming years. This collection of papers includes contributions from emerging voices in academia, government, and the armed forces. It is a timely intervention that takes into account strategic competition between Washington and Beijing, the impact of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine on international order, and heightened tensions over Taiwan.

This collection of papers begins with contributions that explore how the alliance will continue to evolve in the face of emergent challenges. Indeed, the first paper by Jada Fraser places an emphasis on rethinking how the United States can more effectively harness its alliance relationships in East Asia to advance shared interests and counter emerging threats. Fraser identifies the “advantages of organizing the U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral as a form of flexible multilateralism based on overlapping frameworks of cooperation rather than a formally binding agreement.”

The second contribution to this volume, by Cassie Rodriguez, examines how U.S. relationships in East Asia are shifting from a more traditional network of ‘hub-and-spokes’ security arrangements to a ‘minilateralist’ approach that favors informal alignments of countries that are more targeted and issue-specific. For Rodriguez, the U.S.-Japan alliance could become a model for minilaterlism and a driver for the establishment of robust, yet flexible small groupings of states working closely together on shared challenges. An example of this is the Quad.

The next two papers offer insights from international relations theory. Yu Inagaki draws on Kosaka Masataka’s power, interests, and norms framework to offer recommendations for both the United States and Japan to bring both countries into closer alignment. Meanwhile, Shusuke Ioku presents quantitative data analyses of territorial aggression and formal modeling of gray zone conflicts to argue that the key to deterring gray zone coercion is helping sustain the presence of Southeast Asian claimants through capacity building related to reinforcement of presence, constant naval and air patrols, and other measures that would allow them to withstand low-level aggression without backing down. Ioku recommends that Japan and the United States channel limited recourses accordingly and not be content with symbolic joint exercises and rhetorical support for rules-based resolution of disputes.

The next four papers delve deeper into issue-specific areas and contingencies that present challenges and opportunities for the U.S.-Japan alliance going forward. First, Ayae Yoshimoto provides Japan’s perspective on heightened tensions over Taiwan. Offering recommendations that aim to bolster Taiwan’s own position and image in the international community alongside more practical observations relating to a Taiwan contingency, Yoshimoto underlines the critical importance of Taiwan for Japan’s national security. Next, Rena Sasaki provides a more granular analysis of the legislative, regulatory, and political constraints that a more limited Taiwan contingency scenario would pose for Tokyo. Both Yoshimoto and Sasaki underline how Taiwan contingencies demonstrate the urgent need for Tokyo and Washington to bolster crisis response mechanisms.

Shinichi Hirao then turns to examine how NATO standards can enhance the U.S.-Japan alliance. Benchmarking against NATO’s core tasks of Deterrence and Defense, Crisis Management, and Cooperative Security, as outlined in the 2022 Strategic Concept, Hirao draws lessons for the U.S.-Japan security relationship. Hirao also concludes by offering specific recommendations to Tokyo for defense procurement. The final paper of this collection, by Brittany Bradley-Marcial, explores the question of bringing Japan into the Five Eyes community, analyzing both the rationale and the obstacles to membership, as well as potential paths forward that could bring Japan into a closer intelligence sharing relationship with the Five Eyes.

In sum, each contribution to this volume contains new insights into the U.S.-Japan alliance from the next generation of scholars, decision-makers, or military leaders. To be sure, this collection of papers attests to one of the critical factors that explains the longevity of the U.S.-Japan alliance: the alliance’s continuous ability to remake itself in the face of new and emerging challenges.


PhotoU.S. Marines display the American and Japanese flag attached to the M777’s for the Friendship Festival on May 11, 2019, at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan. Source: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Karis Mattingly/ Public Domain

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9 – An Alliance Renewed? Future-proofing U.S.-Japan Security Relations

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Table of Contents

Introduction: An Alliance Renewed? Future-proofing U.S.-Japan Security Relations | Christopher Lamont & Jeffrey Ordaniel 
Chapter 1: The Cornerstone and the Linchpin: Reconstituting U.S.-ROK- Japan Trilateral Security CooperationJada Fraser
Chapter 2: The Evolution of U.S.-Led Alliance Systems: A Minilateralist Approach in the Indo-Pacific | Cassie Rodriguez
Chapter 3: Japan-U.S. Alliance in Harmony? Perspectives from Power, Interests, and Values | Yu Inagaki
Chapter 4: Extended Gray Zone Deterrence in the South China Sea | Shusuke Ioku
Chapter 5: Enhancing Taiwan’s Resistance: Military and Diplomatic Roles of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance | Ayae Yoshimoto
Chapter 6: Why Defending Taiwan is Crucial for the Future of the U.S.- Japan Alliance? | Rena Sasaki
Chapter 7:
Applying NATO’s Practices to the Japan-U.S. Alliance | Shinichi Hirao
Chapter 8: Expanding the Eyes: Japan and the Five Eyes Alliance | Brittany Bardsley-Marcial


This collection of papers begins with contributions that explore how the alliance will continue to evolve in the face of emergent challenges. Indeed, the first paper by Jada Fraser places an emphasis on rethinking how the United States can more effectively harness its alliance relationships in East Asia to advance shared interests and counter emerging threats. Fraser identifies the “advantages of organizing the U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral as a form of flexible multilateralism based on overlapping frameworks of cooperation rather than a formally binding agreement.”

The second contribution to this volume, by Cassie Rodriguez, examines how U.S. relationships in East Asia are shifting from a more traditional network of ‘hub-and-spokes’ security arrangements to a ‘minilateralist’ approach that favors informal alignments of countries that are more targeted and issue-specific. For Rodriguez, the U.S.-Japan alliance could become a model for minilaterlism and a driver for the establishment of robust, yet flexible small groupings of states working closely together on shared challenges. An example of this is the Quad.

The next two papers offer insights from international relations theory. Yu Inagaki draws on Kosaka Masataka’s power, interests, and norms framework to offer recommendations for both the United States and Japan to bring both countries into closer alignment. Meanwhile, Shusuke Ioku presents quantitative data analyses of territorial aggression and formal modeling of gray zone conflicts to argue that the key to deterring gray zone coercion is helping sustain the presence of Southeast Asian claimants through capacity building related to reinforcement of presence, constant naval and air patrols, and other measures that would allow them to withstand low-level aggression without backing down. Ioku recommends that Japan and the United States channel limited recourses accordingly and not be content with symbolic joint exercises and rhetorical support for rules-based resolution of disputes.

The next four papers delve deeper into issue-specific areas and contingencies that present challenges and opportunities for the U.S.-Japan alliance going forward. First, Ayae Yoshimoto provides Japan’s perspective on heightened tensions over Taiwan. Offering recommendations that aim to bolster Taiwan’s own position and image in the international community alongside more practical observations relating to a Taiwan contingency, Yoshimoto underlines the critical importance of Taiwan for Japan’s national security. Next, Rena Sasaki provides a more granular analysis of the legislative, regulatory, and political constraints that a more limited Taiwan contingency scenario would pose for Tokyo. Both Yoshimoto and Sasaki underline how Taiwan contingencies demonstrate the urgent need for Tokyo and Washington to bolster crisis response mechanisms.

Shinichi Hirao then turns to examine how NATO standards can enhance the U.S.-Japan alliance. Benchmarking against NATO’s core tasks of Deterrence and Defense, Crisis Management, and Cooperative Security, as outlined in the 2022 Strategic Concept, Hirao draws lessons for the U.S.-Japan security relationship. Hirao also concludes by offering specific recommendations to Tokyo for defense procurement. The final paper of this collection, by Brittany Bradley-Marcial, explores the question of bringing Japan into the Five Eyes community, analyzing both the rationale and the obstacles to membership, as well as potential paths forward that could bring Japan into a closer intelligence sharing relationship with the Five Eyes.

In sum, each contribution to this volume contains new insights into the U.S.-Japan alliance from the next generation of scholars, decision-makers, or military leaders. To be sure, this collection of papers attests to one of the critical factors that explains the longevity of the U.S.-Japan alliance: the alliance’s continuous ability to remake itself in the face of new and emerging challenges.


About the Authors

Brittany Bardsley-Marcial is a graduate student at Missouri State University pursuing a master’s degree in Cybersecurity. Brittany interned with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI- APCSS), where she had many opportunities to work with faculty members on projects related to Indo-Pacific security issues. She helped developed a strategic game scenario at APCSS, which was incorporated into one of the courses run in February 2022. Brittany received her BA in Political Science, with a Minor in Japanese from Hawaii Pacific University. To broaden her understanding of the Japanese language and culture, she studied abroad at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, for one year.

Jada Fraser is an M.A. Student in Asian Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Previously, she was a Policy Research Fellow with the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her research for the Center primarily focused on prevailing geopolitical trends in the U.S.-Japan-China strategic triangle. Prior to joining SAIS, Jada worked as a Research Assistant with the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She focused on issues in the U.S.-Japan Alliance and U.S. and allies’ Indo-Pacific strategy. Her work has been published on the CSIS website. Jada graduated with High Honors and Departmental Special Honors from the University of Texas at Austin where she completed her B.A. in International Relations and Global Studies and was awarded a certificate in Security Studies from the Clements Center for National Security. Her current research interests include U.S. alliance strategy in the Indo-Pacific, Japan-South Korea relations, and strategic competition with China.

Shinichi Hirao is a Captain of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). He received his BA in law from the University of Tokyo in 2014. After graduation, he joined the JGSDF and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 2016. He served as a platoon leader and joined a disaster relief operation in Kumamoto in 2016. He was then selected to study in the United States, where he earned his Master of Public Policy degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the University of Virginia, in December 2020. Upon graduation, he returned to the JGSDF, and was appointed as Operations and Training Officer of an infantry company under the 34th Infantry Regiment, Gotemba, Shizuoka.

Yu Inagaki is a research assistant at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) working under the Japan-U.S. Program. He is also an active member of the Young Leaders Program at the Pacific Forum. Yu received his MA from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in international relations and strategic studies. His research interests include theories of International Relations, grand strategy, international order, and security in the Indo-Pacific. Among his latest work is a paper comparing the Indo-Pacific Strategy of Japan and the United States. Previously, he interned at the Hudson Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), both in Washington, DC, and also at the Asia Pacific Initiative in Tokyo. At SPF, he helps run several study groups on Japan-U.S. relations and assists in related research.

Shusuke Ioku is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Political Science, the University of Rochester where he studies formal Political Theory and International Relations. His current research projects address inefficiency of coercive diplomacy and subnational political consequences of Chinese economic statecraft. He has a particular interest in gray-zone maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas since he did an internship at the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Before coming to the United States, he received an M.A. in Political Science from Waseda University and B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Tokyo.

Casimira “Cassie” Rodriguez of San Bernardino, California is a graduate student and a Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) fellow at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with an A.B. in Politics and certificates in East Asian Studies and the History and Practice of Diplomacy, completing a senior thesis on Japanese security policy. Following graduation, she studied advanced Japanese in Yokohama at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies as a Blakemore Freeman fellow and presented her research on alliance politics. She has interned at both the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Washington, D.C., taking part in research/publications on U.S.-Japan issues and helping facilitate U.S.-Japan exchange events. Her areas of research include Japanese foreign policy, the international relations of East Asia, and security politics. As part of her SINSI fellowship, she will complete two years of federal government service before graduating from her MPA program. She is currently working on the Japan Desk at the U.S. Department of State.

Rena Sasaki is a graduate student at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, pursuing a Master’s degree in Foreign Service. Rena was a senior associate at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), global management consulting firm and has engaged in defense and security projects with the Japanese Ministry of Defense and the defense industry for more than five years. She has deep knowledge of defense equipment acquisition, domestic supply chains for defense manufactures, and game-changing technology. She is interested in regional security issues in the Indo-Pacific and has engaged in several research projects on China’s military and economic security. She was selected as a delegate for the U.S-.China Dialogue which is a student-to-student dialogue between Georgetown University and Peking University. She graduated from Waseda University with a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Master’s in Engineering, and majored in Statistics. Rena is an intermediate-level Mandarin speaker.

Ayae Yoshimoto is currently working at the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco. Previously, she was a junior visiting fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). She received her B.A. in Communication from Doshisha University in Japan and then her M.A. in International Relations from the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Her research interests include Japan’s foreign and security policy, Sino-Japan relations, cross-strait relations, and U.S.-Japan Alliance. While in graduate school in Taiwan, she did a research internship on Taiwan-Japan relations at Taiwan NextGen Foundation. In addition to her mother tongue, Japanese, she is fluent in English and Chinese.

About the Editors

Christopher Lamont is Assistant Dean of E-Track Programs and Associate Professor of International Relations. Previously, he held a tenured position at the University of Groningen, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ulster. He was also previously a Fulbright scholar at the University of Zagreb in Croatia. He holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow and has published widely on human rights and transitional justice. His recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Democracy, the International Journal of Human Rights, Global Policy, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, and Human Rights Review. He also co-edited, New Crifical Spaces in Transitional Justice (with Arnaud Kurze, Indiana University Press, 2019) and is the author of two research methods textbooks, Research Methods in International Relations (Sage 2015, second edition 2021), and Research Methods in Politics and International Relations (with Mieczyslaw Boduszyński, Sage 2020). In addition to his scholarly work, his writings have also appeared in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage.

Jeffrey Ordaniel is Director for Maritime Security (non-resident) at the Pacific Forum. Concurrently, he is also Associate Professor of International Security Studies at Tokyo International University (TIU) in Japan. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and specializes in the study of offshore territorial and maritime entitlement disputes in Asia. His teaching and research revolve around maritime security and ocean governance, ASEAN regionalism, and broadly, U.S. alliances and engagements in the Indo-Pacific. From 2016 to 2019, he was based in Honolulu and was the holder of the endowed Admiral Joe Vasey Fellowship at the Pacific Forum. Since 2019, Dr. Ordaniel has been convening several track II dialogues on U.S. security relations in the Indo-Pacific, and workshops on maritime security issues. His current research on maritime security in Asia is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). With JSPS funding, he also serves as Project Researcher with RCAST- Open Lab for Emerging Strategies, The University of Tokyo.


Photo: President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio participate in an arrival ceremony, Monday, May 23, 2022, at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo. Source: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz/Public Domain

Expanding the Eyes: Japan and the Five Eyes Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9, pp. 65-69

Abstract

This contribution argues that Japan can offer the Five Eyes the use of its electronic surveillance capabilities, its vast intelligence infrastructure network, and its analysis and perspective on Asian politics. The Five Eyes would, in turn, be able to shore up capabilities that Japan is lacking, such as foreign intelligence and military defense. Despite Tokyo’s attempts at improvement, there remain significant issues with Japan’s complex and limited intelligence system, and its security clearance system. Moreover, clashes among the Five Eyes members (with or without Japan’s admittance) can potentially hinder trust and intelligence-sharing. With these unresolved issues, expectations from both Japan and the Five Eyes may be too high to consider outright admittance at this time.

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Brittany Bardsley-Marcial is a graduate student at Missouri State University pursuing a master’s degree in Cybersecurity. Brittany interned with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI- APCSS), where she had many opportunities to work with faculty members on projects related to Indo-Pacific security issues. She helped developed a strategic game scenario at APCSS, which was incorporated into one of the courses run in February 2022. Brittany received her BA in Political Science, with a Minor in Japanese from Hawaii Pacific University. To broaden her understanding of the Japanese language and culture, she studied abroad at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, for one year.


Photo: iStock

Applying NATO’s Practices to the Japan-U.S. Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9, pp. 57-64

Abstract

The Japan-U.S. alliance has been the foundation of Japan’s defense. Considering the implications of China’s rise, Russia’s resurgence, and the persistent challenge of nuclear-armed North Korea, the Japan-U.S. alliance should adapt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could serve as a model. First, NATO has successfully adapted to new circumstances since the end of the Cold War. Second, NATO members and Japan share common values such as democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. And third, the United States is the foundation of both alliances, which makes sharing best practices feasible. This paper explores NATO’s five practices described in the 2010 and 2022 Strategic Concepts and identifies where the Japan-U.S. alliance is in these practices. The paper then analyzes the applicability of NATO’s practices to the Japan-U.S. alliance and concludes with policy recommendations for the government of Japan.

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Shinichi Hirao is a Captain of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). He received his BA in law from the University of Tokyo in 2014. After graduation, he joined the JGSDF and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 2016. He served as a platoon leader and joined a disaster relief operation in Kumamoto in 2016. He was then selected to study in the United States, where he earned his Master of Public Policy degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the University of Virginia, in December 2020. Upon graduation, he returned to the JGSDF, and was appointed as Operations and Training Officer of an infantry company under the 34th Infantry Regiment, Gotemba, Shizuoka.


Photo: A 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer conducts a training mission in the vicinity of Japan where they integrated with Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) assets, May 12, 2020. The 9th EBS is deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of a Bomber Task Force and is supporting Pacific Air Forces’ strategic deterrence missions and commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman River Bruce

Why Defending Taiwan is Crucial for the Future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance?

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9, pp. 47-56

Abstract

A potential Taiwan crisis is a salient issue for both the United States and Japan. Despite its importance, there has not been enough discussion about the impact of a Taiwan Strait crisis on the U.S.-Japan alliance and how it would affect Japan. Japan’s role in the U.S.-Japan alliance is described in the 2015 U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines. The challenges to Japan include recognizing a situation that can legally permit the deployment of the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) in a timely manner and for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to take action accordingly. While the JSDF is assumed to be able to operate following these guidelines, other stakeholders such as the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), airport and port operators, the defense industry, and energy providers may have limited response capabilities. This paper argues that the U.S. Department of Defense and Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) should develop detailed bilateral planning in advance, including what to do if a Taiwan contingency arises. Moreover, the Japanese government should take the lead in supporting private operators in the event of a Taiwan Strait crisis.

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Rena Sasaki is a graduate student at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, pursuing a Master’s degree in Foreign Service. Rena was a senior associate at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), global management consulting firm and has engaged in defense and security projects with the Japanese Ministry of Defense and the defense industry for more than five years. She has deep knowledge of defense equipment acquisition, domestic supply chains for defense manufactures, and game-changing technology. She is interested in regional security issues in the Indo-Pacific and has engaged in several research projects on China’s military and economic security. She was selected as a delegate for the U.S-.China Dialogue which is a student-to-student dialogue between Georgetown University and Peking University. She graduated from Waseda University with a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Master’s in Engineering, and majored in Statistics. Rena is an intermediate-level Mandarin speaker.


Photo: iStock

Enhancing Taiwan’s Resistance: Military and Diplomatic Roles of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9, pp. 40-46

Abstract

This contribution provides recommendations on the scope for coordination on the part of the U.S.-Japan alliance to raise the costs for Beijing of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. As the threat posed by China’s attempt to unilaterally change the status quo becomes more serious, the Taiwan issue has once again become a focal point of international attention. China’s rise is a common challenge for Japan and the United States, and stability in the Taiwan Strait is their common interest. After considering various Taiwan contingency scenarios, preventing a worst-case scenario will require a greater willingness and ability of the Taiwanese people to resist and prompt U.S. intervention. To strengthen prospects for these two, this paper discusses how the United States and Japan should militarily and diplomatically work together.

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.-Japan Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. With backgrounds from academia, government, military and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Japan bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Click here to download the full volume.


Ayae Yoshimoto is currently working at the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco. Previously, she was a junior visiting fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). She received her B.A. in Communication from Doshisha University in Japan and then her M.A. in International Relations from the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Her research interests include Japan’s foreign and security policy, Sino-Japan relations, cross-strait relations, and U.S.-Japan Alliance. While in graduate school in Taiwan, she did a research internship on Taiwan-Japan relations at Taiwan NextGen Foundation. In addition to her mother tongue, Japanese, she is fluent in English and Chinese.


Photo: iStock

PacNet #60 – The Myth of Taiwan as a Pacific Nation

“The US has begun to reimagine itself as a Pacific nation. Taiwan would be wise to explore the merits of following suit. This could unlock benefits that entail from a shared identity.”

– Michael Walsh and John Hemmings, Taipei Times, Oct. 7, 2022

The Taiwan government must find a way to deter and derail the existential threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. To achieve these outcomes, Taipei will need to maintain a strong and enduring partnership with the United States. At present, this strategic bond is reinforced by a number of shared identities. As pointed out by Walsh and Hemmings, the myth of being a Pacific nation is not one of them. Per their suggestion, Taipei should explore the merits of reimagining itself as a Pacific nation too.

The United States has long toyed with the idea of being a Pacific nation. President Barack Obama inflected a major shift toward that identity when he declared, “the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific nation.” Framing his assertion as a “fundamental truth,” President Obama set into motion the reimagination of America as a Pacific nation through a combination of rhetoric and narrative. On the backs of Asian immigration and fallen soldiers, the Obama Administration constructed a persuasive story about how a “complex and intricate mix of history, ideas, and interests” had transformed into a Pacific nation long ago. In this way, a mental image was formed that eventually rooted in the collective consciousness of American thought leaders. Now, many American policymakers accept the claim that America is a Pacific nation as a statement of fact. It has started to become a Thorsonian myth.

Throughout the world, few places have struggled with the concept of collective identity like Taiwan. For decades, the question of what demonym to use for the people of Taiwan has been at the forefront of national debates and the cause of international concern. After a multi-decade struggle for the preservation of autonomy from the People’s Republic of China, attitudes have somewhat shifted on the idea of being Taiwanese. Many still cling onto the identity of being Chinese. There remains no consensus on what should be the Taiwanese identity. A strong affinity has been forged around several other identities, however. These include the ideas of being a democratic state and East Asian state. While being a democratic state is an identify shared with the United States, being an East Asian state is not. If there was another regional identity jointly held by both partners, then this gap would lose much of its significance. It is therefore somewhat surprising that Taipei has not explored further whether becoming a Pacific nation could bridge that divide.

If the Taiwan government took a closer look at the merits, then Taiwan policymakers would find that it is not difficult to craft a persuasive story about Taiwan being a Pacific nation.

Their first glance should be geography. As Walter Lippman once said “the world that we have to deal with politically…is out of reach, out of sight, out of mind. It has to be explored, reported, and imagined.” That is why “cognitive frameworks” drawn from “geographic considerations” have such a profound role to play in domestic and foreign affairs. Fortunately, Taiwan is gifted with the “blessing of geography.” Composed of a set of islands in the Western Pacific that are situated at approximately the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands, Taiwan lies proximate to what is commonly referred to as the Pacific Islands Region. Taipei is a full ~1,000 miles closer to Koror than Los Angeles is to Honolulu. If American policymakers can draw a mental map around Pacific nations that is inclusive of the United States, then surely Taiwan can do the same.

Their second glance should history, culture, and language. The connections between Taiwan and the Pacific nations extend far beyond geographic happenstance. The historical ties between the Taiwanese aborigines and other Pacific Islanders are well documented. Although the history of the Austronesian and Lapita cultures remains the subject of debate, there is evidence that the Neolithic period expansion of Austronesian-speaking peoples can be traced back to an Austronesian homeland in Taiwan. Either way, the Austronesian family of languages continues to provide a linguistic bridge between the indigenous communities of Taiwan and their Pacific Islander cousins.

Taipei has been taking steps to protect that connection. In 2017, the Indigenous Languages Development Act was promulgated to “achieve historical justice, further preserve and promote the indigenous languages, and guarantee that the languages are used and passed down.” But language is only part of the story. The revival of Taiwanese indigenous culture has become a touchstone topic among the majority Han Taiwanese population. This has created additional space to emphasize Taiwan’s Austronesian roots on the national stage. Although often overlooked, Taiwan’s experiences with colonization and conflict provide another common ground with the Pacific nations. At various times, the territory of Taiwan has been possessed by the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan. This mirrors the colonial experiences of many Pacific Island countries. Moreover, Taipei was heavily bombed by foreign militaries during WWII, although that story is not widely acknowledged in contemporary discourses. These experiences provide a shared platform on which to construct the story of Taiwan as a Pacific nation.

The third glance should be common security and political interests. Taiwan and the Pacific nations share traditional security concerns. In close partnership with the United States, Taiwan seeks to deter invasion by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which has not renounced the use of force in its pursuit to reunify Taiwan with the Chinese mainland. While Pacific Island countries may not fear imminent invasion by the PLA, they wish to avoid getting caught in the middle of US-China competition.

The outbreak of open hostilities between these superpowers would endanger not only the core interests of Taiwan, but those of Pacific Island Countries as well. Consider the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) states. Under the terms of those agreements, the United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense. Such conflict would involve the distributed network of military bases currently under construction across the COFA states. It could also draw in other military bases located in other Pacific Island Countries. Then, there is the issue of the citizens of Pacific Island Countries who are part of the United States Armed Forces. In any US-China conflict, these Pacific Islander servicemen and servicewomen would be expected to join the fight. Pacific Island Countries therefore share a compelling interest in deterring major power combat.

While traditional security interests often get top billing, Taiwan and Pacific nations also share a myriad of non-traditional security concerns. This includes the existential threat posed by climate change. Pacific Islands Countries have made clear that “climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.” They are not alone. Taiwan is facing significant problems posed by climate change impacts. In 2021, Taiwan experienced its most severe drought period in 56 years. This was due to the unusual lack of typhoons passing over the main island. These typhoons play a critical role in recharging reservoirs and the economic outcomes of their absence were significant. The drought negatively impacted Taiwan’s production of semiconductor chips among other painful impacts including lost agricultural yields and water rationing for households and businesses.

Of course, not all natural disasters arise from climate change and not all non-traditional security concerns involve natural disasters. On a perennial basis, Taiwan faces the risk posed by earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tsunamis. It also has to contend with threats posed by infectious diseases, drug trafficking, organized crime, transnational migration, supply chain insecurity, or cyber threats. Many Pacific Island Countries face similar concerns as evidenced by the natural disasters that recently struck Tonga and the cyberattack that recently disrupted internet services in the Marshall Islands.

Beyond security concerns, Taiwan and many Pacific nations also share a desire to preserve the rules-based international order and a preference for democratic political systems. At the Indo-Pacific Leaders Dialogue, President Tsai Ing-wen declared that Taiwan shares a commitment “to upholding the rules-based international order,” “employing transparency and accountability as the basis for cooperation,” and promoting the “values of democracy and freedom” with Australia. Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently affirmed that “United States, Taiwan, and Palau share a strong commitment to democracy, to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to advancing the peace and prosperity of the region.” In the Blue Pacific Strategy, the member states of the Pacific Islands Forum not only warned that the “established rules-based order for peace and security as set out in the Boe Declaration faces increasing pressure, and the Pacific region is not immune.” They also proclaimed that “the Blue Pacific Continent remains committed to principles of democracy.” While the declarations of countries and actions of their leaders sometimes pull in different directions, there is significant common ground to be found between Taiwan and Pacific nations on these political matters.

When Washington took a closer look at the merits of reimagining the United States as a Pacific nation, American policymakers found that it was possible to craft a story through a “complex and intricate mix of history, ideas, and interests.” While there are significant differences in the history, ideas, and interests of Taiwan and the United States, Taiwan policymakers could use a similar narrative framework to craft their own story about Taiwan as a Pacific nation. Such an approach begs several follow-on questions. The most immediate are: who needs to be persuaded? How difficult would it be to conduct outreach? What are the potential benefits, costs, and risks? Taipei should start exploring these questions to better understand the merits of reimagining Taiwan as a Pacific nation. And it should make that a priority.

Michael Walsh (mw1305@georgetown.edu) is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at Pacific Forum.

Wen-Chi Yang (wyang@nccu.edu.tw) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Diplomacy at National Chengchi University.

Adam Morrow (adam@pacforum.org) is the Director of the Young Leaders Program at Pacific Forum.

The views expressed are their own.

Note: The authors would like to acknowledge the inspiration for this article: Satu Limaye, “The US as a Pacific Nation.” Education About Asia. Volume 17, No. 3 (Winter 2012): 4-7.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

Photo: President Tsai visits Tuvalu (2017/11/01) by The Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan).

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR7 – Abe Shinzo: In Memoriam

Introduction

Rob York

A Sharp-Elbowed Politician, an Irreplaceable International Statesman  

A famous, albeit fictional, statesman once said “A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good.”

As Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe Shinzo left a legacy. Fair-minded individuals would be able to find grounds for criticism in that record: Abe climbed to leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party by stoking doubts about his country’s record in World War II, provoking outrage from neighboring countries. He relished sparring with his rivals in Japan’s other political parties and in the press; his country’s press freedom ranking consequently declined under his leadership. His efforts at addressing his country’s stagnant economy and moribund birthrate saw, interpreted charitably, only modest successes.

But Abe Shinzo should be remembered for much more than that. Much as Winston Churchill should be remembered, both for his foresight regarding the rise of the Nazi threat and his record as ruthless defender of Britain’s colonial interests, proponents of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision that Abe championed should remember his record as a partisan, but also as an international institution builder in an age where both “freedom” and “openness” are under attack in the Indo-Pacific. In doing so, he revived Japan as an international player and helped set the stage for multilateral cooperation to preserve existing rules and norms, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the “Quad”) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Such efforts make him one of the most influential statesmen of this era.

Since Abe’s shocking assassination on July 8, the Pacific Forum has sought to ensure that the fullness of this legacy is remembered, and as such used our PacNet series to explain his impact from a variety of perspectives. In doing so, we reached out to many old friends whose names are familiar to the Pacific Forum’s long-time readers. In PacNet #37, Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum’s senior advisor and my co-editor at Comparative Connections, identifies the specific attributes of Abe’s—specifically his strongly held opinions and behind-the-scenes advocacy—that made it possible for him to be this institutional builder and to restore Japan’s role on the foreign policy stage. In PacNet #36 Stephen Nagy of the International Christian University in Tokyo provides a comprehensive overview of Abe the diplomat, including his successful managing of relations with the PRC, which were actually at a low point before his lengthy stint as PM. In PacNet #39 Kei Koga of Nanyang Technological University demonstrates how under Abe, Japan countered the PRC’s growing influence in Southeast Asian countries through sustained engagement, winning their trust despite their unwillingness to match his hawkishness toward Beijing. Furthermore, in PacNet #43 Jagannath Panda of ISDP, Sweden explains how Abe’s dealings with India paved the way for the latter’s increased engagement with the outside world, including through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. In PacNet #40, I note that Abe’s tireless engagement with American presidents across changes in parties has made good relations with Tokyo that rarest of things in US politics: an area of bipartisan agreement that looks unlikely to change, regardless of the outcome of the 2024 election.

The Pacific Forum also reached beyond its regular contributors’ list to acquire new perspectives. Shihoko Goto of the Wilson Center details Abe’s prescient vision for the defense of Taiwan, something the US would gradually awaken to. Jada Frasier—an MA student in Asian Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service that we believe policy professionals will be hearing from more and more in the future—explains how despite causing tensions in the Japan-South Korea relationship, Abe also deserves credit for increasing the two East Asian democracies’ opportunities for security cooperation through his emphasis on minilateral groupings.

Now that Japan has laid the former prime minister to rest last week, those who remember the darker side of his leadership will find grounds to do so, and some of those criticisms will be warranted. Abe, however, left a legacy far beyond those unpleasantries, especially if, as was the case with Churchill, his country and the international community rise to the challenge they presently face.

Table of Contents

PacNet 35, 07/11/2022. Abe Shinzo and the Japan-South Korea relationship: Near- and long-term legacies by Jada Fraser

PacNet 36, 07/14/2022. Post-Abe Indo-Pacific regional dynamics: A legacy beyond the man by Stephen Nagy

PacNet 37, 07/15/2022. Abe’s death creates a void in Japan by Brad Glosserman

PacNet 39, 07/22/2022. Abe Shinzo’s legacy in Southeast Asia by Kei Koga

PacNet 40, 07/25/2022. Abe Shinzo: How to handle an unpredictable America by Rob York

PacNet 43, 08/05/2022. Post-Abe India-Japan ties: Does Kishida have what it takes? by Jagannath Panda

PacNet 45, 08/10/2022.  The prescience of Abe’s vision for Taiwan by Shihoko Goto

 

Photo: State Funeral of Shinzo Abe by the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan