Tag Archives: Japan

British-Japan security partnership in 2013: A new type of Alliance?

Japan's Ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi and UK Foreign Minister William Hague, 4 July 2013

Japan’s Ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi and UK Foreign Minister William Hague, 4 July 2013

The recent signing of defence cooperation agreements between the UK and Japan is stirring memories of old alliances.

“By mentioning the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, I am not seeking merely to dwell on past glories. Surely we had the tragedy of another war which we fought against each other and have always to squarely face. However, we are now nurturing a new partnership in the defence and security areas, which perhaps we can call a new type of alliance” Japan’s ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi, 23 July 2013. (link here)

A new Anglo-Japan Alliance? Certainly there are echoes –

“The focus of international competition is moving steadily towards the Pacific Ocean and… Japan is obliged… to play an ever increasingly [sic] part in the peaceful development of that portion of the globe [cheers]. I sincerely hope … that these friendly feelings and mutual sympathies which have existed between us in the past shall be daily more strongly cemented in the future [cheers].”  Ito Hirobumi, London, 3 January 1902

Conscious of the need to avoid too much Anglo-Japan bias on this blog, I will begin posting more on the emergence of ‘a new type of alliance‘,  at a sibling blog devoted to this question: Anglo-Japan Alliance

Great Game

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NATO and Japan explore opportunities to cooperate on emerging security challenges

20130701_130701-sps-japan_rdax_276x172NATO and Japan explore opportunities to cooperate on emerging security challenges – “such as cyber defence, counter-terrorism and non-proliferation. Opportunities for collaborating on responses to such challenges through science and innovation were a particular focus of the visit” (link)

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UK, France / Japan leading on Euro-Asia Security cooperation?

220px-TokugawaYoshinobu

The Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu in French military uniform, c.1867.

This blog has paid close attention to the UK-Japan ‘strategic partnership’ (here, here, here), not least because it is starting to look like the most salient feature of Europe-Asia interaction on security.  In the recent Chatham House conference (opening their five-year UK-Japan Global Seminar), British MP Hugo Swire called Japan Britain’s ‘closest partner in Asia’. His counterpart at the Conference, Hiroaki Fujii, had earlier called the UK Continue reading

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NATO, Japan sign Joint Political Declaration – no ‘permanent’ role for NATO in Asia

Anders Fogh RasmussenA full text of the declaration is available here. Not much of note in the text itself, but there was an intriguing if slightly confusing bit of language about what NATO is not  doing in Asia –

On his video blog, the SG makes the point that “my visit does not mean that NATO seeks a presence in the Asia Pacific region, but it does mean that NATO seeks to work with the Asia-Pacific region…” Subtle distinction, but clear enough because the North Atlantic Charter is also pretty clear on allies needing to be from the North Atlantic area.

Then Rasmussen told reporters after the signing ceremony “While NATO has no ambition to take on a permanent role in Asia, we see very clearly the advantage of working with like-minded partners like Japan”.

But why the qualifier ‘permanent’?

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The 2013 Japan-EU Summit – unequal expectations for a “Global Political Agreement”?

EU Japan summit image

The 21st Japan-EU (European Union) Summit will be held in Tokyo on Monday, March 25. What can we expect?

Past performance does not offer much cause for optimism. In 1991 both sides signed the Japan-EU Joint Declaration, which was followed in 2001 with a 10 year Action Plan. Now after more than 20 years since the Declaration not much action has followed. Even the action plan itself expired in 2011.

However, there may be reasons to hope for this relationship to pick up. Japan has Continue reading

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European External Action’s David O’Sullivan to explain “Priorities for EU Diplomacy in East Asia”

David-OSullivan

On 12 Feb, Tokyo’s GRIPS Forum will host David O’Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service, who will explain the priorities for EU Diplomacy in East Asia. Details here

The EU Delegation says this about it:

“East Asia is home to some of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, and several of European Union’s biggest economic and trade partners. And yet, years after the emergence of first discourses on regional integration East Asia remains fragmented. While economic interconnectedness is increasingly felt between states in the region, as well as across regions, East Asia is unable to overcome deep-rooted historical legacies. China (together with Hong Kong and Macao), Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN account for about 28% of EU’s global trade in goods and services and East Asia offers rapidly expanding market opportunities for EU member states. However, at the same time there is much at stake for Europe if security and stability of the region deteriorated due to territorial disputes. David O’Sullivan, Chief Operation Officer of the EEAS will come to share his perspective on what are the priorities of EU’s engagement with the East Asian region.”

12 February (Tue), 2013 16:40-17:40

Venue: GRIPS 1st Floor Sokairou Hall
Participation Fee: Free (prior registration required)
Language: English (with Japanese simultaneous interpretation)
Inquiries: gripsforum@grips.ac.jp

I have three questions that I would love David O’Sullivan to address: What is the EU prepared to do –

(i) to ease the tensions on the Korean peninsula?

(ii) to help with the peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes (between several E. Asian states)? and

(iii) to support the creation of the ASEAN Political Security Community (due 2015)?

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Japan invites European comeback to Asian Security role, and seeks to join FPDA

Shinzo Abe--621x414Now Japan’s Prime Minister (again), Mr Shinzo Abe is inviting a European security ‘comeback’ to Asia (full text can be read here ©2012/Project Syndicate) –

“I would also invite Britain and France to stage a comeback in terms of participating in strengthening Asia’s security. The sea-faring democracies in Japan’s part of the world would be much better off with their renewed presence. Continue reading

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A budding “Trans-Eurasia Alliance”? RUSI launches in Japan

“A trans-Eurasia alliance” – is that what we can expect from stronger linkages between Japan and the UK?

This was one of the ideas aired at the October 2012 launch event for RUSI Japan, which is pitched as “an independent research hub for Asia-Pacific defence and security”.

The idea of the trans-Eurasia alliance between Japan and Europe or Japan and UK “would make the world a more stable place” said Dr Chiaki Akimoto, the head of RUSI’s new Japan office.

Like the Taliban, the London-based Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) has a satellite office in Doha, Qatar. Continue reading

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The three great shifts and why Europe should be more engaged in Asian security issues.

Three historic shifts are transforming the global security environment. There is an economic shift of wealth generation and finance from West to East, the climate shift to higher temperatures and sea levels, and a geopolitical shift to a multi-polar world order. All of them will bring about changes that cause Europe and Asia’s security interests to overlap to an extent not seen since the onset of the Cold War period.

First the economic shift: Asia is fast becoming the most important part of the world for Europe’s economic interest. In a recent round-table hosted by FRIDE and the EU-Asia Centre, the European Union External Action Service’s (EEAS) Director for Northeast Asia,Gerhard Sabathil, pointed out that the EU’s trade with East Asia (28%) now exceeds transatlantic trade (23%).  If Asia has a security sneeze, Europe will catch a cold in its export trade with big knock-on effects for the rest of its economy. Then there is the importance of Asian finance power for our public and private debt and investment. But this economic shift is only the most obvious reason we should be more attentive to what happens ‘over there’. Continue reading

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Quiet but effective Japan – NATO relations: The enduring value of the Aso doctrine

Just recently, a group of Japanese academics and think tankers visited NATO and try to see beyond Afghanistan for ways to sustain Japan’s relationship with NATO. Issues arising included emerging non-traditional threats, Civil emergency planning, ‘Smart defence’ and Missile Defence.

But do these routine and low profile contacts belie a carefully calibrated, more substantial relationship?

Contrary to what one might guess, this relationship goes back to the Cold War era, when, as Dr. Nishihara Musashi records:

Japanese defense ministers visited NATO headquarters in 1979, 1981 and 1984, respectively. But, it was not until after the Cold War ended that NATO’s Secretaries General Manfred Worner, Javier Solana and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer returned the visit to Tokyo in 1991, 1997 and 2005, respectively. Continue reading

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