U.S. Experts Report Calls for Integrated U.S.-Japan Alliance

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
The U.S. and Japan flags fly together outside the White House in Washington April 27, 2015.

Washington, April 4 (Jiji Press) — A group of U.S. bipartisan experts on U.S.-Japan relations released a report Thursday calling for an integrated alliance between the two countries in response to the increasingly severe international environment.

Specifically, the group proposed that a permanent office be created to help coordinate operations of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. forces and strengthen cooperation between their commands, in line with Tokyo’s establishment of a joint operations command that centrally controls the Air, Ground and Maritime SDFs at the end of fiscal 2024.

The group, led by former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Harvard University distinguished service professor emeritus Joseph Nye, said in the report that the two countries “today confront an international environment more fragmented and divided than at any time since the end of World War II.”

It noted closer ties among China, Russia and North Korea while expressing concern over Washington’s isolationist trend, mentioning the possibility of former U.S. President Donald Trump retaking power.

“Unlike many Western democracies, Japan has avoided the worst impulses of populism and isolationism,” the report said. “Its role in supporting a free and open international order grounded in the rule of law is therefore more important than ever.”

The report called for supporting Taiwan as the island faces growing military and economic coercion from China. It urged Tokyo’s participation in regular talks between the U.S. and Taiwanese governments and proposed considering ways to help Taiwan strengthen critical infrastructure including communications, energy and transportation.

In the field of economic security, the group stressed the importance of cooperation among the Group of Seven major powers, including Japan and the United States, to combat distortions of the steel and other markets spurred by China’s excess capacity.

“As a first step, the United States, Japan, Europe, and South Korea should initiate a dialogue on coordinated responses to excess capacity in the critical sector of electric vehicles, where the Chinese industry has rapidly become a global leader,” it said.

It also proposed a new bilateral dialogue mechanism to facilitate coordination of industrial policy and export controls.

It is the sixth Armitage-Nye report. The first report in 2000 proposed that Japan grant itself the right to exercise collective self-defense.