WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japan and the United States should consider issuing a new joint security declaration to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their alliance next year to help kick bilateral cooperation to the next level, a Washington think tank says.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance is the foundation for American engagement in the Asia-Pacific,” the Center for a New American Security says in an 82-page report titled “The United States and the Asia-Pacific Region: Security Strategy for the Obama Administration.”
The report notes that many of the challenges the alliance has faced over the past decade have stemmed from a lack of clarity from Tokyo and Washington on alliance-based cooperation and commitment. Thus, it says, a new joint security declaration “will help manage expectations and reduce friction within the alliance.”
Both countries, it says, should strive to make a statement that moves beyond the 1996 Japan-U.S. joint declaration on security alliance “toward a more forward-looking horizon for security cooperation.”
That document, signed in Tokyo by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and President Bill Clinton, redefined the role of the bilateral security arrangement and increased security cooperation.
The think tank’s report may serve as a basis of Japan policy for the new administration of President Barack Obama. One of the cochairs of the think tank, Michele Flournoy, is undersecretary of defense for policy. Another, Kurt Campbell, is expected to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
It identifies as a “high priority” Japan’s efforts to complete the planned move of U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa Prefecture by 2014 as set by Washington and Tokyo.
“Washington is not just looking to Tokyo to do its share, but to honor its promises,” it says. “Trust is the glue of an alliance; failure to live up to previous commitments will erode the foundation of the partnership.”
The report urges the United States to reaffirm its role as a security guarantor of Japan and decide at an early date whether to sell the F-22A Raptor stealth fighter to Japan. Export of the state-of-the-art jet is currently forbidden under U.S. law.
“The administration must act quickly to determine the fate of F-22A sales to Japan,” it says. “If the decision is made to sell F-22s to any ally, Japan should be among the first in line.”
It also presses Japan to enact an information security law to protect against the disclosure of intelligence. The lack of such a law, it says, inhibits U.S. willingness to share sensitive intelligence with Japan.
Furthermore, the report encourages Tokyo to be “more aggressive” in the pursuit of regional initiatives, such as in promoting maritime safety and security, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, development aid, or through national capacity building in a broad array of fields ranging from export controls to product safety.
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