U.S. and Japan to Strengthen Military Alliance

The United States and Japan are planning to strengthen their military cooperation in “the biggest upgrade to their security alliance since they signed a mutual defense treaty in 1960,” the Financial Times reported on March 24.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will announce plans in April to dramatically restructure the U.S. military command in East Asia, the report says.

The current three-star U.S. commander overseeing U.S. forces in Japan has no authority over Japanese troops; replacing him with a four-star commander would lay the groundwork for a unified Japanese-U.S command. Such a model would be similar to the U.S.’s unified command with South Korea.

Threat from China: The main reason the two countries are eager to boost ties is to respond to what they see as a growing threat from China. Tokyo has “serious concern” over China’s growing military might and the threat it poses to Taiwan; it has been greatly increasing its military power in response.

Turnaround: A strengthened alliance with the U.S. may be beneficial for Japan to improve its security and advance its military capabilities. However, this is another example of America trusting in foreign powers for its defense.

Expect this to backfire. Read our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches Japan’s March Toward Militarism” to learn why.