Japan’s Security Challenges
On March 20, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University gathered experts from Northwestern University, Washington, D.C., and Japan for an afternoon of discussion on U.S.–Japan relations. The two panels of experts focused on Japan’s security challenges and Japan’s role in the region’s economic architecture, respectively.
Japan faces several challenges in ensuring its security, both physically and psychologically, as the reliability of the United States—Japan’s security guarantor—seems less certain. The most pressing threat comes from North Korea, which can already strike Japan with nuclear weapons, while the long-term, bigger challenge is China. China is testing boundaries in the region, which is only one element of a broader, sophisticated Chinese campaign to increase its influence in East Asia relative to both Japan and the United States. The panelists will discuss how Japan and the United States are tackling these immediate and long-term threats as well as the issues drawn from the economic and social foundation of security.
Asia’s economic architecture is evolving as it adapts to twin shifts in capabilities and governance. China’s economic footprint continues to grow as it carves out a more visible role for itself on the global stage. The United States maintains robust economic ties with the region, but the Trump administration has called for a reset of U.S. foreign economic policy under the mantra of “America First.” In this fluid and evolving environment, Japan is aiming for an expanded role in shaping Asia’s regional economic architecture. The panelists will address the opportunities and challenges Japan faces in this leadership bid, including the new dynamics of U.S.-Japan trade relations and the ability to engage in constructive competition with China.
Adjunct Fellow, Korea Chair - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Assistant Professor of Political Science - Northwestern University
Co-Director, East Asia Program; Director, Japan Program - Stimson Center
Professor of History - Northwestern University
Associate Professor of Political Science - Northwestern University
Senior Research Fellow - Japan Center for Economic Research
Visiting Professor - International Christian University
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?