Taiwan’s Future Depends on the Japan-America Security Alliance

    Kerry Gershaneck

    Security, Asia

    Taiwan needs a militarily capable Japan, one with improved military interoperability with the United States.

    Japan’s Prime Minister Abe faces a major political warfare campaign as he labors to defend Japan’s security interests through the normalization of Japan’s armed forces. He faces a small, but powerful, radical-left domestic minority that desires a weak, neutralized Japan. In addition, nearby hostile totalitarian regimes benefit from, and support, these radicals.

    While the world generally benefits from an assertive, proactive, and militarily capable Japan, and Taiwan, also called the Republic of China (ROC), especially needs such a Japan. This is because together Japan and the ROC represent a higher manifestation of individual liberty, consensual government, and rule of law than most countries in the world. They demonstrate how free peoples can govern themselves and prosper in a very tough neighborhood—in close proximity with two of the world’s most ruthless totalitarian regimes.

    Furthermore, the ROC benefits from a Japan that works effectively with its only treaty ally, the United States. While the relationship looks good on paper, there are vexing shortcomings in the security alliance and with Japan’s defense structure that could have devastating consequences. Japan still has not implemented a coherent national-defense strategy and its forces face major shortfalls in funding, manpower, communications, doctrine, training, and weapons and equipment.

    Just as important, U.S.-Japan-ROC strategic communications efforts need to be better led and coordinated to help fight the efforts to break up these alliance. This threat comes from both radical activists within Japan and the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Political Warfare operations designed to “disintegrate” these PRC “enemies.”

    A Very Tough Neighborhood

    Japan faces security challenges from all of its immediate neighbors. The most imminent challenge is the PRC which, by any objective assessment, is an expansionist, coercive, hyper-nationalistic, brutally repressive and totalitarian state. Japan is reminded daily through the PRC’s bombastic propaganda organs that the PRC is now militarily and economically powerful, eager to avenge Japan’s brutal past imperialism, and planning to take Japan’s territory such as the Senkakus and Ryukyus.

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