To meet the threats from China and North Korea, Japan is cooperating with its allies in the region, particularly by selling, lending or gifting them naval and maritime assets. But Tokyo is also building up its own fleet, despite its pacifist constitution, and this has put Japan’s shipbuilders into the spotlight.
A political dispute in Japan over an alleged cover-up in a UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan highlights a bigger regional problem with international operations that are no longer about maintaining, but more about imposing, peace.
An invitation from RUSI Japan to participate in a roundtable in Tokyo in late May gave the author a great opportunity both to present a view of European security to Japanese experts, and to re-immerse briefly in local perspectives on the risks facing their region.
Amid worrying remarks from President-elect Donald Trump and North Korean provocations, there are growing fears that Japan and South Korea might seek to acquire a nuclear capability. However, this anxiety is misplaced, for it does not take into account the political and technical options available to Tokyo and Seoul.