PacNet #9 – The US Coast Guard: Provide public goods for a free and open Indo-Pacific

Ask a member of any coast guard in the world for their organization’s mission statement, and each time you will get a different answer. Even more troubling, ask coast guard members within a single coast guard, and answers will be no less diverse. Part of this stems from the coast guard’s multi-mission nature. It also stems from debates regarding the geographic bounds of these missions, ranging from those constrained within an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to blue water operations. Part of this also stems from the many organizations that can be labelled a “coast guard.”

Growing risks inherent in the renewed multi-polarity of the world require a more definitive answer. In this multi-polar environment, there has been a rise in gray zone activities, which increase the importance of coast guard capabilities to counter this problem. These capabilities, however, will not reach their full potential without an overall mission statement stating the purpose to which they will be leveraged.

The central mission for Coast Guards around the world should be the cooperative provision of public goods to uphold the rule of law. This leverages their multi-mission humanitarian nature, identifies their role in national security strategies, and drives cross-coast guard partnerships.

The impact of public goods on the character and definition of the rules-based order, a system now under significant challenge for the first time since the Cold War, is of critical importance. Successful provision of public goods can determine national choices. Public goods provision also focuses stakeholders on shared activity instead of reliance on dominant players. Their provision can decide the difference between acceptance of the rule of law, or acceptance of the rule of a dominant hegemon.

Potential strategies deployed by the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”) powers—Japan, the United States, India, Australia—to support the free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) provide opportunities to examine this mission for global coast guards. The FOIP is a cooperative approach to defend the rule of law. Coast guard engagements across the Quad members offer potential to advance this goal, but not without agreement on their overarching mission priority.

Competing public goods providers

The cooperative underpinning of the FOIP strategy was a feature from the very beginning.   Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy was introduced in 2016 by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo as a vehicle to cooperatively “meet challenges to the maritime rules based order.” The United States saw it in a similar vein, “to engage like-minded nations in economic, security, and political governance partnerships.” The Quad Joint Leaders statement issued in May 2022 echoed these sentiments, describing governance as a central public good.

China has also noted needs in this area, stating that “accompanying traditional challenges are the long-term “insufficient supply” of regional marine governance public products such as “marine environmental protection, channel safety, maritime search and rescue, and fishery resource protection.” It argues for a hub-and-spokes model with some nations taking a more dominant role, noting “in maintaining world peace and development, major countries have a special responsibility to play an exemplary role in providing international public goods and providing positive energy for global governance.” Beijing sees itself as the potential leading provider of these public goods, particularly in the maritime domain, arguing China is the primary “defender of the international order, a contributor to global governance and a provider of international public goods.”

A rules-based order requires not just the existence of rules, but also their egalitarian application and enforcement. This enforcement is important for the preservation of the order, but is also a critical source of legitimacy for the regimes themselves (irrespective of their style or theory of governance, some academics argue). Many countries in the Indo-Pacific lack state capacity to enforce a maritime rules-based order. These may therefore default either to provision of enforcement goods (and their concomitant rules, whether applied equally or not) by one dominant regional hegemon (i.e. the Chinese hub-and-spoke model with a focus on centralization and bilateralism), or one where they partner with like-minded nations (such as the Quad, and/or other regional groupings).

Cooperative provision of public goods, working in partnership with domestic governments, enhances domestic regime legitimacy and strengthens the rules being enforced. China understands the importance of partnership within the narrative and has begun using these terms extensively in diplomatic speeches and media. The United States has also significantly increased its focus on partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.

When it comes to their status as providers of public goods, Quad powers possess significant narrative advantages. “Centralization” and “control” are key watchwords for policy in authoritarian systems, not “distributed responsibility” and “capacity-building.” This has the potential to hamstring authoritarian regimes across a range of policy areas, but specifically in narratives around partnership-driven, rules-based orders. That contrast is highlighted in the way the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) interact, with a strong history of joint operations that has been extended through recent bilateral agreements such as SAPPHIRE (Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule-of-Law Based Engagement—joint counter-narcotics exercises between the Japan and United States coast guards). This partnership extends to other activities such as joint drug interdiction and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing patrols; and to multilateral activities with other regional powers inclusive of the Philippines and Vietnam.

The USCG has a wider array of partnerships across more mission types than any other US service or department. The International Port Security Program (IPSP) encourages and promotes best practices to enhance global supply chain integrity. Ship rider agreements, which permit the USCG to act on the behalf of a signatory country to observe and board vessels suspected of violating laws and regulations, are increasingly popular with states seeking deeper partnership with the United States. The 2023 US Coast Guard budget funds additional deployments of National Security Cutters and deployable specialized forces that support partner nation law enforcement. This is a broad base of initiatives and partnerships on which to build.

The absence of overarching strategy

The nature of strategy development within the USCG, however, inhibits its ability to lead a partnership-driven public goods provision strategy designed to strengthen the existing rules-based order.

The service has well-developed, long-range planning tools and programs inclusive of the launch and development of Project Evergreen, charged with building strategic foresight across the USCG. Its approach since its founding in 2003, however, suffers from two issues consistently. First, many of the USCG’s issue-specific strategies, including Arctic, its Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing (IUUF), and its Cybersecurity strategies provide detailed analysis of the issues at hand, but fail to place those issues into the context of the service’s overall mission. Second, broader strategies, such as the recently released 2022-2026 Coast Guard Strategic Plan, focus on tactics to address current implementation shortfalls. The 2022-2026 Strategic Plan’s three pillars (workforce, competitive edge, and mission excellence) are not linked to strategic objectives (such as, perhaps, cooperative provision of public goods to uphold the rule of law). This fixation on work plans and tasks, divorced from an overarching definition the service’s strategic objectives, leads to a myopic view of operations and holds the service back from achieving wider effects.

Provision of public goods, including the impartial enforcement of governance, underpin a world based on the rule of law. A global society pursuing public goods provision leverages the power of networks, where each connection strengthens the next. It does so in a way that centralized authoritarian systems cannot replicate given that they are not built for shared, reciprocal responsibilities.

The humanitarian multi-mission nature of coast guards make them ideal candidates to lead in this space. This should begin with the US’—and its Quad partners’—coast guards placing the collaborative provision of public goods at the core of their mission, as a first step to defend the rules based order in a multi-polar world.

James R. Sullivan (sullivanj@dkiapcss.edu) is a Non-Resident WSD-Handa Fellow at Pacific Forum.

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

Photo: Members of the Japan Coast Guard pose for a picture with crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry off Guam, June 7, 2022 (9 June 2022, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam) 

PacNet #6 – Comparative Connections Summary: January 2023

Comparative Connections Summary:
September-December 2022

 

REGIONAL OVERVIEW

Indo-Pacific As the “Epicenter”

BY RALPH COSSA, PACIFIC FORUM & BRAD GLOSSERMAN, TAMA UNIVERSITY CRS/PACIFIC FORUM

The Biden administration released its long-awaited National Security Strategy (NSS) this trimester, along with unclassified versions of its National Defense Strategy and Missile Defense and Nuclear Posture Reviews. There were no big surprises. The NSS identified the Indo-Pacific as “the epicenter of 21st century geopolitics” and reaffirmed China as the “pacing challenge,” even while branding Russia as “an immediate threat to the free and open international system” as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Underscoring the priority attached to the region, President Biden attended the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh and the G-20 Summit in Bali, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the United States at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok.

 

US-JAPAN RELATIONS

Ramping up Diplomacy and Defense Cooperation

BY SHEILA A. SMITH, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS & CHARLES MCCLEAN, YALE MACMILLAN CENTER

In the wake of the death of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, the fall brought unexpectedly turbulent politics for Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. In the United States, however, President Joe Biden welcomed the relatively positive outcome of the midterm elections, with Democrats retaining control over the Senate and losing less than the expected number of seats in the House. Diplomacy continued to be centered on various impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but both Biden and Kishida focused their attention on a series of Asian diplomatic gatherings to improve ties. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, G20 Meeting in Bali, and APEC gathering in Bangkok proffered the opportunity finally for in-person bilateral meetings for both leaders. Finally, Japan’s long awaited strategic documents were unveiled in December. A new National Security Strategy (NSS) took a far more sober look at China’s growing influence and included ongoing concerns over North Korea as well as a growing awareness of Japan’s increasingly difficult relationship with Russia.

 

US-CHINA RELATIONS

The Bali Summit: US and PRC Leaders Attempt to Arrest the Slide 

BY BONNIE S. GLASER, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE US

Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met in person for the first time as national leaders at the G20 summit in Bali and agreed to manage competition in their relationship responsibly and restore regular dialogue between senior officials and cooperation between their countries. Bilateral meetings between senior officials in charge of climate, finance, trade, and defense followed. After the US announced another weapons sale to Taiwan, however, Beijing halted the resumption of military-to-military exchanges again. The US issued new export controls aimed at freezing China’s advanced chip production and supercomputing capabilities. President Biden maintained that he would send US forces to defend Taiwan if attacked and repeated that whether the island is independent is up to Taiwan to decide. The Biden administration issued its National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review. The US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for serious human rights abuses in Tibet and arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners. China retaliated by sanctioning two former Trump administration officials.

 

US-KOREA RELATIONS

Everything Everywhere All at Once, Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud

BY MASON RICHEY, HANKUK UNIVERSITY & ROB YORK, PACIFIC FORUM

Continuing a trend from the May-August reporting period, the final reporting period of 2022 in US-Korea relations was marked by an accelerated ratcheting up of tension. In short, numerous problems reared up on the Korean Peninsula from September-December, and good solutions have been few. And not only does this describe relations between the US and North Korea, but in their own, friendly way also the situation between Washington and Seoul, whose frequent invocations of rock-solid alliance cooperation belie unease about crucial areas of partnership. Two critical issues have been increasingly affecting the US-South Korea alliance in 2022, with the September-December period no exception. First, South Korea desires ever more alliance-partner defense and security reassurance from the US in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear threat and Chinese revisionism. Yet the US has downward-trending limits on credible reassurance as North Korea masters nuclear weapons technology that threatens US extended nuclear deterrence for South Korea. The US also faces less geopolitical pressure to effusively reassure its Indo-Pacific allies—including South Korea—as China grows to menace the regional order and the US consequently faces lower risk of ally hedging or realignment.

 

US-INDIA RELATIONS

Friends with Benefits

BY AKHIL RAMESH, PACIFIC FORUM

2022 was a challenging year, not just for US-India relations, but for every India analyst trying to explain the Indian government’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Explaining to a non-IR audience India’s history of nonalignment during the Cold-War era and its current policy of multi-alignment was not a gratifying endeavor. While the last four months of 2022 did not have the friction and stress-tests as the first four of 2022 or the slow and steady expansion of relations that followed between May and September, they certainly had multiple surprising events that could make them the halcyon months of 2022. In mid-November, the US and Indian armies engaged in a military exercise at Auli, not far from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating Indian-held and Chinese-held territory. While the US and Indian armies have engaged in exercises prior to 2022, this proximity to the Indo-China border is a first. A month later, in another first, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen traveled to India to meet Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to expand the US-India “Indo-Pacific partnership.” Yellen characterized India as a “friendly shore” for supply chain diversification and as the indispensable partner for the US.

 

US-SOUTHEAST ASIA RELATIONS

External Order, Inner Turmoil

BY CATHARIN DALPINO, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

In November three ASEAN states—Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand—drew favorable marks for their chairmanship of high-profile regional and global meetings: the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Leaders Meeting; the G20 Summit; and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, respectively. Helming these meetings was particularly challenging for Southeast Asian leaders—who are naturally inclined to avoid strong alignments with external powers—in the current global environment of heightened tensions between the United States and China in the Taiwan Strait and the war in Ukraine. However, the year was a difficult period for ASEAN internally, with uneven economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the intractable conflict in Myanmar. The last quarter of 2022 saw two political shifts in the region: in general elections in Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim achieved a longstanding ambition to become prime minister but will have to manage a difficult coalition to retain power. At the year’s end, Laos changed prime ministers, but it is not clear if the transition will solve the country’s debt problems, which were revealed to be more dire than estimated.

 

CHINA-SOUTHEAST ASIA RELATIONS

Xi Moderates to US and Others Amid Continued Competition 

BY ROBERT SUTTER, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY & CHIN-HAO HUANG, YALE-NUS COLLEGESoutheast Asia was the center of international attention in November as regional and global leaders gathered at the G20 conference in Indonesia, which took place between the annual ASEAN-hosted summit meetings in Cambodia and the yearly APEC leaders meeting in Thailand. Acute China-US rivalry loomed large in media and other forecasts, warning of a clash of US-Chinese leaders with negative implications feared in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. The positive outcome of the Biden-Xi summit at the G20 conference and related actions eased tensions, which was welcomed, particularly in Southeast Asia, but the implications for the US and allies’ competition with China remain to be seen. Tensions over disputes in the South China Sea continued unabated. President Xi Jinping made his first trip to a major international gathering at the G20 conference followed by the APEC meeting after more than two years of self-imposed isolation in line with his government’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.

 

CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS

Tensions Intensify as Taiwan-US IT Cooperation Blossoms 

BY DAVID KEEGAN, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES & KYLE CHURCHMAN, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

In the wake of then US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China’s extensive military exercises continued to impose a more threatening “new normal” in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan continued to be the focus of heated public exchanges between the US and China. US President Biden said, for a fourth time, that the US would defend Taiwan and added an inflammatory codicil that independence was for Taiwan to decide. At the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, General Secretary Xi Jinping promised China would strive for peaceful reunification with Taiwan but would not renounce use of force. On Dec. 23, Biden signed the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act and a State Department appropriation providing $2 billion in loans for Taiwan to purchase US equipment. Two days later, China sent 71 military aircraft and seven ships to intimidate Taiwan, its largest-ever one-day exercise near the island. Two days later, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced that Taiwan would extend its military conscription to 12 months. TSMC formally broke ground for the first of two factories in the US, a $40 billion investment.

 

NORTH KOREA-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS

Drones in a Darkening Sky, Tactical Nuke Talk: Pyongyang’s Provocations Escalate

BY AIDAN FOSTER-CARTER, LEEDS UNIVERSITY, UK

The main feature of inter-Korean relations in the last four months of 2022 was varied and ever-increasing provocations by Pyongyang. Besides multiple missiles, there were artillery volleys and an incursion by five drones. Kim Jong Un also ramped up his nuclear threats, in theory and practice. A revised law widened the scope of nuclear use, while a new stress on tactical weapons was matched by parading 30 new multiple launch rocket systems (MLRs) which could deliver these anywhere on the peninsula. The government of South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol for his part reinstated officially calling North Korea an enemy, and revived concern with DPRK human rights. As the year turned, his government was mulling retaliation for the drone incursions; that could include scrapping a 2018 inter-Korean military accord, a dead letter now due to Pyongyang’s breaches. With tensions rising, the new year ahead may be an anxious one on the peninsula.

 

CHINA-KOREA RELATIONS

Kim Jong Un Tests Xi-Yoon Diplomacy

BY SCOTT SNYDER, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS & SEE-WON BYUN, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

Regional and global summits presented high-level platforms for China-South Korea engagement in November. The summitry showed that the relationship had returned with solidity with the resumption of international meetings and in-person exchanges. Although the Xi Jinping and Yoon Suk Yeol leaderships advanced diplomatic exchange, concerns emerged over enduring political and security constraints and growing linkages with the economic relationship. Kim Jong Un’s escalation of military threats, through an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, challenged Xi-Yoon bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. China-North Korea bilateral interactions, while brisk, primarily relied on Xi and Kim’s exchange of congratulatory letters around significant founding anniversaries, China’s 20th Party Congress, and expressions of condolences after the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. The UN Security Council’s failure to take unified action on DPRK threats prompted South Korea to voice frustration with China and expand cooperation with US and Japanese partners. Such responses only reinforced concerns raised in recent leadership exchanges, and Korean domestic division over Yoon’s diplomatic strategies.

 

JAPAN-CHINA RELATIONS

A Period of Cold Peace?

BY JUNE TEUFEL DREYER, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI

In the sole high-level meeting in the report period, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Bangkok in November, General Secretary/President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio essentially talked past each other. At an earlier ASEAN+3 meeting in Phnom Penh, Premier Li Keqiang and Kishida not only talked past each other but pointedly walked past each other. There was no resolution of major issues: the Chinese position is and remains that Taiwan is a core interest of the PRC in which Japan must not interfere. Japan counters that a Chinese invasion would be an emergency for Japan. On the islands known to the Chinese as the Diaoyu and to the Japanese as the Senkaku, Tokyo considers them an integral part of Japan on the basis of history and international law while China says the islands are part of China. On jurisdiction in the East China Sea, Japan says that demarcation should be based on the median line and that China’s efforts at unilateral development of oil and gas resources on its side of the median are illegal. Beijing does not recognize the validity of the median line.

 

JAPAN-KOREA RELATIONS

Japan and South Korea as Like-Minded Partners in the Indo-Pacific

BY JI-YOUNG LEE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY & ANDY LIM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

The last four months of 2022 saw a flurry of bilateral diplomatic activities between Japan and South Korea in both nations’ capitals and around the world. They focused on 1) North Korea, 2) the issue of wartime forced labor, and 3) the future of Seoul-Tokyo cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Despite mutual mistrust and the low approval ratings of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and President Yoon Suk Yeol, both leaders had the political will to see a breakthrough in bilateral relations. Another signal came in the form of new strategy documents in which Seoul and Tokyo explained their foreign and security policy directions and goals. On Dec. 16, the Kishida government published three national security-related documents—the National Security Strategy (NSS), the National Defense Strategy (NDS), and the Defense Buildup program. On Dec. 28, the Yoon government unveiled South Korea’s Strategy for a Free, Peaceful, Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region, its first ever Indo-Pacific strategy. Although each document serves a somewhat different purpose, it is now possible to gauge how similarly or differently Japan and South Korea assess challenges in the international security environment, and how they plan to respond to them.

 

CHINA-RUSSIA RELATIONS

Ending the War? Or the World?

BY YU BIN, WITTENBERG UNIVERSITY

Unlike in 1914, the “guns of the August” in 2022 played out at the two ends of the Eurasian continent. In Europe, the war was grinding largely to a stagnant line of active skirmishes in eastern and southern Ukraine. In the east, rising tension in US-China relations regarding Taiwan led to an unprecedented use of force around Taiwan. Alongside Moscow’s quick and strong support of China, Beijing carefully calibrated its strategic partnership with Russia with signals of symbolism and substance. Xi and Putin directly conversed only once (June 15). Bilateral trade and mil-mil ties, however, bounced back quickly thanks to, at least partially, the “Ukraine factor” and their respective delinking from the West. At the end of August, Mikhail Gorbachev’s death meant both much and yet so little for a world moving rapidly toward a “war with both Russia and China,” in the words of Henry Kissinger.

 

INDIA-EAST ASIA RELATIONS

India’s Ongoing ‘Strategic Correction to the East’ During 2022

BY SATU LIMAYEEAST-WEST CENTER IN WASHINGTON

India’s East Asia relations in 2022 followed the arc articulated by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar’s address at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand in August 2022. He began by recalling three decades ago India made a “strategic correction to the East” which was “[o]riginally…contemplated as an economic measure, with trade and investment at its core” and mostly focused on ASEAN. He went on to say the geography, concepts, and assessments of India’s Indo-Pacific vision have expanded “to cover Japan, Korea and China, and in due course, Australia as also other areas of Pacific Islands…[and] facets of cooperation also increased…now cover[ing] connectivity in various forms, people-to-people ties and more recently, defense and security.” And while dutifully referencing India’s Indo-Pacific policies including Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI), he gave the most attention to the revitalized Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”)
PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors.

PacNet #4 – The Japan Coast Guard’s role in realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

Originally responsible primarily for maintaining good order and the safety of life at sea in domestic waters, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has expanded its commitment to international duties to cultivate external relationships and much-needed capacity building in neighboring states. While they began in the 1970s, these international activities have, in recent years, become essential functions in realizing Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). The JCG’s broad spectrum of capabilities and engagements makes it indispensable across all elements of Tokyo’s broader regional strategy, and its deepening partnership with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is amplifying its impact.

Several states have adopted the Indo-Pacific as a geographic and policy concept in pursuing their national interests. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo first articulated Japan’s FOIP concept at the TICAD VI meeting in Kenya in 2016. The Abe administration considered it vital to connect Asia to Africa in order to link accelerating Asian economies with Africa’s rich resources. Washington published its own FOIP strategy in 2017. ASEAN then followed with its “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” in 2019, setting out its views on this concept, in line with the shared understanding among member states. In a similar vein, the EU created a Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

The government of Japan views its FOIP as the best way to reinforce the rules-based international order it relies upon and connecting itself to Africa as an attractive prospect for ensuring its economic future. Within this concept are three pillars—promotion and establishment of the rule of law and freedom of navigation, free trade and the pursuit of economic prosperity, and commitment to peace and stability.

Under the first pillar of its FOIP vision, the Japanese government commits itself to enhancing and advancing cooperation with like-minded states which share the principles of the rule of law and freedom of navigation. Tokyo’s work in providing quality infrastructure makes up its FOIP’s second pillar, including ports, railways, and roads physically creating the connection between Africa and Asia. Tokyo’s emphasis on building comprehensive trade agreements also falls under the strategy’s second pillar. Within the third pillar, the government invests considerably in capacity building, with particular emphasis upon maritime law enforcement and maritime domain awareness. Japan’s efforts also include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations, counter-piracy and counter-terrorism operations, and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The JCG expends considerable effort in strengthening the relationships among maritime law enforcement agencies (MLEA) in the Indo-Pacific and beyond to advance the rule of law and freedom of navigation. For example, JCG launched the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum in 2000. Consisting of mature coast guard agencies in the north Pacific region, the forum aims to foster operational interactions and convenes exercises to deepen mutual understanding. Then, Subsequently, the JCG launched the Head of the Asian Coast Guard Agencies’ Meeting (HACGAM) in 2004, creating a forum to discuss the construction and development of critical operational capabilities in MLEAs in Asia. Lastly, the Coast Guard Global Summit was launched in 2017. This international framework for coast guard agencies exists to foster a global approach to shared challenges at sea as well as develop the members’ respective workforces. These dialogues knit together coast guard agencies at the regional and global levels, building confidence and mutual understanding.

Capacity building is another way Tokyo seeks to implement its regional vision. To implement its commitment to peace and stability, enhancing the capability of regional states to maintain good order in their own waters is essential. In this regard, the JCG has been active for nearly half a century, beginning with hydrographic surveys to support partners and expanding its works to include environmental protection and law enforcement efforts. The JCG carefully structures its assistance in most cases to support the recipient states’ abilities to secure their own waterspace, rather than intervening directly or by deploying Japanese assets abroad. This is not to say that the JCG is not active outside the Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Operationally, the JCG dispatches its assets abroad annually for counter-piracy patrols and for combined exercises with regional counterparts. In 2022, the JCG dispatched the 5,300-ton cutter Mizuho for counter-piracy patrolling and exercises, including an oil spill response exercise with Indonesia and the Philippines.

Using education to advance partnerships and improve policy formulation, the JCG and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) launched the Maritime Safety and Security Policy Program in 2015. The significance of the program was highlighted when Prime Minister Abe addressed in his speech at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly that students of MSP learn and share the principle that “the maritime order is a matter of the rule of law and one that is rule-based.” Through the study of international law and international relations, students deepen their understanding of the legal framework and how international order and stability are maintained at sea.

Furthermore, the Japanese government enhances the capability of MLEAs in the Indo-Pacific region by donating patrol ships. This concept has evolved over the course of years—at its outset, Tokyo hesitated to even provide patrol ships with bullet-proof windows to avoid the perception of providing military equipment. But by 2006, the government decided to change its policy and began providing more capable patrol ships, with the first going to Indonesia under a grant aid scheme. Tokyo subsequently donated patrol ships to Djibouti and Vietnam in 2015, the Philippines in 2016, Malaysia in 2017, and Sri Lanka in 2018.

The enhanced relationship between the JCG and the USCG further strengthens attempts to realize and advance Tokyo’s FOIP concept. The two coast guards signed a key memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2010 which established an expectation of comprehensive cooperation between the two but was not overly detailed. Both coast guards recognized that in order further to strengthen the cooperative relationship, concrete shared objectives were necessary in areas like operations and exercises, professional exchanges, academic instruction, and capacity building. Thus, on May 18, 2022, JCG and the USCG signed SAPPHIRE (Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule-of-law based Engagement), an annex to the 2010 MOU.

The first combined exercise conducted under the auspices of both documents took place just after the SAPPHIRE signature ceremony in San Francisco on May 20, 2022. The JCG’s training ship, PL21 Kojima, joined a combined exercise focused on maritime search and rescue and communication. Following that event, PLH21 Mizuho was dispatched to participate in a counter-narcotics exercise off the coast of Guam. A real-world maritime emergency interrupted the exercise, and the participating American and Japanese assets conducted combined search and rescue operations. What began as an exercise quickly became a proof of concept, in which US and Japanese assets cooperated to save lives. Following this, in July of 2022, a combined Japan-US team conducted the first combined capacity-building program in Manila for the Philippines Coast Guard. JCG dispatched its Mobile Cooperation Team, and the combined JCG-USCG instructors led exercises such as towing, fire-fighting, and high-speed boat operations.

As Japan-US relations continue to strengthen, the more cooperative relationship between the two coast guards provides another layer to the security architecture, which leads to a more secure and stable sea. In addition, the JCG and USCG confirm and jointly disseminate those shared values, such as the rule of law and freedom of navigation, through joint operations and capacity building.

The JCG’s power goes far beyond the strength of its platforms and their capabilities. Its outreach and international engagements, combined with the provision of critical capacity building, reinforce the rules-based order of the Indo-Pacific. Its normative strength is magnified by these activities, as well as by its deepening relationship with the USCG, which has created a strong bilateral tie that will multiply the efforts of both across the Indo-Pacific. The JCG’s success in pushing forward the Japanese FOIP agenda is a model for use across the region, highlighting that cooperation and support are a powerful attractive force that draws in new partners and creates positive ties.

Capt. Kentaro Furuya (JCG) (k-furuya@grips.ac.jp) is an adjunct professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) and professor at the Japan Coast Guard Academy.

This PacNet was developed as a part of a workshop on potential cooperation among Quad coast guards to implement the FOIP vision organized by YCAPS. The papers were edited by John Bradford (RSIS) and Blake Herzinger (AEI). For the first in the series, click here.

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

PacNet #2 – The Indian Coast Guard, the Quad, a free and open Indo-Pacific

While the four states of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or “Quad”) maintain separate organizations responsible for military and non-military missions at sea, no two delineate those organizations’ responsibilities the same way. This fact notwithstanding, Quad countries stand to gain much by exploring new areas of cooperation between their maritime law enforcement agencies.

The Quad brings together four like-minded democratic countries—India, Japan, Australia and the US—who share similar visions for a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Geographically, the four countries effectively bound the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Politically, all four countries already have established respective comprehensive security and economic partnerships and 2+2-level dialogues to discuss cooperation on military and economic issues. Militarily, the four states participate in several major exercises and a series of smaller activities, while Japan and Australia maintain alliances with the United States. These deepening relationships provide an ideal foundation for extending their security cooperation to their maritime law enforcement agencies.

The Indian Coast Guard is the fourth arm of the Indian military controlled by India’s Ministry of Defense. The Indian Coast Guard Act was enacted on Aug. 18, 1978 to institutionalize India’s maritime security force and safeguard India’s maritime holdings as delineated in the 1976 Maritime Zones of India Act. It has grown from seven surface platforms in 1978 into a lean-yet-formidable force with 158 ships and 70 aircraft in its inventory in 2022, and is seeking to expand further. The ICG’s role has widened as well, expanding from its initial remit of countering seaborne smuggling activities to now addressing a wide range of maritime issues and challenges.

Delhi’s primary objective in creating a coast guard was to undertake peacetime tasks of ensuring the security of its maritime holdings. The enshrined duties of the ICG include enforcement of maritime zones and safety of artificial islands, and security of offshore terminals, installations and other structures. The ICG is responsible for protecting and assisting distressed mariners, environmental preservation, and control of marine pollution. It can also be called upon to support the Indian Navy during wartime. The ICG also participates in both domestic and international training opportunities.

Operating an average of 40 vessels on patrol at any given time, the ICG covers an area of approximately 55 million square kilometers (21 million square miles). The organization’s assets are widely distributed along the Indian coast, allowing pan-India littoral presence (including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and quick dispatch in case of distress, which it regularly has occasion to prove as it conducts humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Indian Ocean region.

At the regional and international institutional level, ICG has enhanced its ties with counterparts of other partner nations. Intending to institutionalize this cooperation, the ICG has signed MoUs with various countries to address threats in the maritime domain in a collaborative manner.

As India’s premier maritime law enforcement agency, the ICG provides an appropriate forum and foundation upon which to strengthen the diplomatic relations between the Quad nations. With broad expertise in protection of sea lines of communication (SLOCs), pollution response, search and rescue, boarding operations, protecting aquatic species, and so on coast guards have any number of potential areas for interaction and cooperation.

The ICG and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) have signed a memorandum of understanding and already conduct bilateral exercises. Established in 1948, the Japan Coast Guard has a huge fleet of more than 350 technologically advanced vessels. Cooperation between the two can further be developed by increasing the frequency of joint training exercises in areas of mutual concern such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. As the Indian Ocean hosts increasing numbers of foreign oceanographic research vessels, as do waters around Japan, both coast guards would benefit from sharing resources, best practices, and observations to address any unusual behavior exhibited by these vessels within and outside their respective EEZs.

Though Australia lacks an organization formally named a “coast guard,” India and Australia’s Maritime Border Command can cooperate on issues in their shared region. As MBC operates specialized equipment and oil spill remediation measures, this partnership would be a valuable skills exchange in addition to providing increased environmental security. The IOR is an area of heavy maritime traffic and that traffic results in higher frequency of marine pollution due to oil spills, accidents, and other environmental damage. The two countries might also explore formalizing agreements on conservation of marine resources, preventing illegal activities in protected areas, and countering illegal exploration of natural resources. Similar to Australia, India has several marine protected areas where knowledge sharing and best practices could be exchanged between the two organizations. Increasing the frequency of cross-training would create a knowledge-sharing platform and increase mutual understanding.

USCG is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States and sits within the US Department of Homeland Security. It has largest fleet of ships and aircraft amongst the four Quad nations, and its mandate extends beyond US domestic waters into international waters. It has state-of-the-art technology equipment that makes it one of the most advanced coast guard in the world, providing a valuable opportunity for the ICG to learn and adopt best practices. While a USCG cutter made the service’s maiden visit to India in the summer of 2022, the two coast guards do not have an MoU formalizing their relationship or detailing a plan for cooperation.

Dr Pooja Bhatt (poojabhatt.jnu@gmail.com) is a maritime researcher and currently working as a consultant at the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The views mentioned here are the author’s own and do not reflect the position of MEA or any other government organization.

This PacNet was developed as a part of a workshop on potential cooperation among Quad coast guards to implement the FOIP vision organized by YCAPS. The papers were edited by John Bradford (RSIS) and Blake Herzinger (AEI).

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

Extended ‘Gray Zone’ Deterrence in the South China Sea

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR9, pp. 31-39

Abstract

Strong military commitments by stronger allies to defend weaker partners is just one necessary component of extended deterrence to limited (gray zone) aggression. Another essential part is the weaker partners’ presence in disputed domains. In the context of the South China Sea, given the vast capability gap between China and Southeast Asian claimants, bolstering the latter’s control of and presence in disputed domains through material assistance focused on offshore patrolling assets and ISR capabilities (such as drones and space-based monitoring systems) is critical to preserving the status quo. This study employed a quantitative data analysis of territorial conquests and a formal analysis of gray zone conflict to support the claim.

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.

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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.


PhotoA Planet Skysat captured this image of Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea on May 3, 2020. Constructed between 2014 and 2017, Fiery Cross reef is one of China’s seven militarized artificial islands in the Spratlys that have become symbols of China’s gray zone coercion and salami slicing. Source: Photo by Skysat/Creative Commons