Think Tank Report on US Japan Relations Has No Good Recommendations

The think tank Center for a New American Security has released a new report on the U.S. Japan Mutual Security Treaty and makes some recommendations.   All the options being proposed involved some form of increased militarization of the Asia-Pacific region.  Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal blog:

Indeed, a new report due out Wednesday from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security (CNAS) sees the bilateral relationship at a — surprise, surprise — “turning point…amid a strategic environment of unprecedented complexity.” Yet the report also points out the half-century old U.S. Japan Mutual Security Treaty has had a solid track record of helping to keep the peace in the Asia-Pacific region. Among the more provocative suggestions for policymakers: consider pulling back some forward stationed U.S. military forces in Japan and moving them as far away as Guam or Hawaii.

The report, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal, provides an overview of challenges facing the alliance timed to coincide with the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting of regional leaders in Yokohama next month. It specifies several areas in need of “revitalization,” including greater interoperability of the two countries’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) programs. It also bluntly calls on Japan to create a National Security Council and to boost its arsenal by adding drones (“long-haul, unmanned aerial vehicles”), diesel attack submarines and naval mines. And the report suggests four core options for the U.S. military base presence in Japan:

1.) Retain and Harden: Maintain current base structure and bolster their potency by deploying more missile defenses and “pouring additional concrete on shelters and burying facilities.”

2.) Fortify Guam: Shift more American military personnel from Japan to the island of Guam while building up its air and naval facilities.

3.) Disperse: Spread the U.S. military footprint across more of Oceania by redeploying forces from Japan and improve access to military installations in Southeast Asia.

4.) Pullback to Hawaii: Move some U.S. forces in Japan to Hawaii and upgrade their capability to redeploy quickly during a regional crisis.

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