Visit Signals Japanese Security Concerns


Large Philippine flag waving in the wind | Image by Maxim Studio/Shutterstock

A diplomatic visit by the president of the Philippines to Japan this week has spotlighted the latter’s recent and historic reorientation in terms of military security.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are poised to enter into a disaster relief agreement that calls for joint drills, a move reportedly signifying Japan’s desire to shore up security relationships in the face of a rising China, according to Al Jazeera.

The new agreement follows the release of Japan’s latest security strategy policy in December 2022, which includes national security measures like doubling military expenditures, providing nearby countries with arms and technologies, and strengthening its relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We are reminded once again that globalization and interdependence alone cannot serve as a guarantor for peace and development across the globe. The free, open, and stable international order, which expanded worldwide in the post-Cold War era, is now at stake with serious challenges amidst historical changes in power balances and intensifying geopolitical competitions,” read the opening of the policy statement.

The document went on to cite China, Noth Korea, and Russia as security concerns and potential disruptors of the current fragile international order.

“At this time of an inflection point in history, Japan is finding itself in the midst of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of WWII. In no way can we be optimistic about what the future of the international community will bring,” the policy statement concluded.

This change in policy outlook follows decades of Japan maintaining a defensive military posture and a reliance on the United States for security, according to the Associated Press.

“This is a significant strategic reshuffling,” said Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, per the Associated Press, commenting on the strengthening of relations between the Philippines, Japan, and the United States, which he called “a major contribution to the strategic alignment in the area from a deterrence standpoint.”

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