Final Preparations for RIMPAC are underway. Exercise begins July 10

Researcher at Kyoto University and Orient Institute


This past week saw an important the country's foreign and security policy.

event unfold in Japan-South Korea Japan policy is a sensitive topic and it does relations. The celebration of an intelligence not require much for some voices to pact that could smooth information-sharing denounce Tokyo's revamping its influence with regards to North Korea's nuclear on its former colony, or taking advantage of

program, though advanced earlier as a the threat from North Korea to expand its good step in responding to Pyongyang's military apparatus. News editorials and threat and as an important step in fostering articles have followed, mostly in the South bilateral ties between Seoul and Tokyo Korean press, airing negative views not suffered a dramatic turn of events later in only on the way this pact was negotiated the week. The reaction was the strongest in and nearly signed, but also on the overall South Korea, where public opinion and relations between the two countries. The nationalist politics decried the insidious reaction in Japan has been more moderate move by Japan - seen as expanding its and interpreted as a missed opportunity to military influence -, and the South Korean bolster security ties against a common government. Analysts were prompt to base this last threat. Until the elections in December, more

Conflicting interests? Tensions between Japan and South Korea rise as an intelligencesharing pact is brought to the public's attention and gets canceled in the last minute

minute call to cancel the pact as internal tensions are to be expected though their politicking on behalf of the Koreans, whose true impact remains to be assessed. upcoming elections is putting pressure on


The status of current China-US relations “Things with China will get ugly. Our talk of rebalancing is a response to Chinese power and provocations. The competition is intensifying. We repeat the mantra that our efforts in Asia are not about China as if saying it makes it true. In reality, politics, like physics, has an action-reaction cycle. While we are doing the right thing, China certainly views our actions as hostile. We should expect China to up its game militarily.” “Pivoting and rebalancing: The good, the bad and the ugly” (Dan Blumenthal American Enterprise Institute).

confident Chinese leaders are in the strength of their armed forces will play a big role in how far they push their territorial claims. It also will indicate whether Beijing is trying to bluff America into staying out of these controversies roiling Asia. The question is whether the People's Liberation Army is a paper dragon, and the honest answer is mixed. In theory, the growth in the PLA has been startling since the 1990s. Starting from a groundcentric force relying on 1950s technology, and with very little modern air or sea capabilities, China's military is now the second-largest in the world.” “Is the PLA a Paper Dragon?” (Michael Auslin - Wall Street Journal).

“Australia's win-win security alliance” (Malcolm Cook - The Lowy Interpreter).

Controlling the Pentagon's budget must have started earlier “Unsurprisingly, the defense industry has enjoyed remarkable prosperity during this time, with industry profits quadrupling between 2001 and 2010. But with a struggling economy and the conclusion of two wars, the United States can no longer afford to fund a massive defense buildup in the absence of an existential threat. Every bipartisan group confronting the deficit problem -- including the President's Debt Commission (SimpsonBowles), the Domenici-Rivlin Task Force, and the Gang of Six -- has recommended reducing defense spending by about $1 trillion over the next decade. And the Budget Control Act (BCA), passed last summer, called for Congress to identify $1.2 trillion in cuts, revenue, or both to address this fiscal dilemma. If Congress failed, the act stipulated that $500 billion be automatically "sequestered" from defense (an equivalent amount would also be "sequestered" from non-defense programs) to meet the shortfall.”

The AirSea Battle Concept may already be dated “China’s development of a highly capable Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) battle plan to deter, slow, or deny U.S. forces from entering a contested geographic area or combat zone has been well covered in The Diplomat by myself and others. It makes sense for American military planners to assess the challenges such a strategy will present as Chinese forces begin to deploy over greater distances. But it’s also clear that the United States should develop its own symmetrical and asymmetric strategies to counter such threats. A joint operational concept of AirSea Battle combined with a strong cyber component could damage, deter, and destroy any Chinese A2/AD capabilities and ensure U.S. maritime access. A newly reconstituted “AirSeaCyber” operational concept would give U.S. forces the best chance to defeat Chinese or any other nations’ A2/ AD forces now and in the future.” “Is AirSea Battle Obsolete?” (Harry Kazianis - The Diplomat).

Australia weighs its strategic alliance

“Gunpoint Stimulus” (Lawrence J. Korb, “Since the writing of the last Defence Alex Rothman & Max Hoffman - Foreign White Paper a long-term trend has Policy). become more apparent. This trend creates a clear 'win-win' situation between the defence of Australia, Oil and gas don't trump fish stocks, not in underpinned by the ANZUS alliance, and the South China Sea Australia's Asian engagement project. This is particularly so when we remind ourselves that Asia is much larger than the People's Republic of China. Signified by the deepening JapanAustralia security relationship, the JapanSouth Korea relationship and the Vietnam-India relationship, a growing number of Asian powers have developed more common views of regional security in line with those of the 2009 Defence White Paper. These converging views appreciate the importance of continued US strategic leadership in the Asia Pacific century and the role greater cooperation between security allies and partners of the US can play in supporting and shaping this leadership.”

China may have the teeth to dispute the AirSea Battle Concept “China's boasts about its military may soon be put to the test, as new tension with Vietnam in the South China Sea comes on the heels of a months-long standoff with the Philippines. How

“Bad weather was good news in Scarborough Shoal, a contested chain of rocks and reefs in the South China Sea. Earlier this month, Typhoon Butchoy forced a break in the two-month standoff between Philippine and Chinese vessels as diplomatic efforts faltered. For all it


seemed the showdown was about naval The current situation in East Asia power, oil resources, and China's presents unique challenges for the EU, inexorable rise, the Scarborough incident such as the ongoing China–US struggle was really about one thing: the fish.” for regional hegemony. The complex relationships between the parties “Fish Story” (Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt involved, and the potential repercussions - Foreign Policy). for the North Korea debate could make it difficult for the EU to maintain a strong level of credibility in negotiations and in Can we make sense of China's policy the region in general. The position toward North Korea? adopted by some EU member states at the ‘Five Plus One’ talks with Iran may “Of course, should North Korea either prevent proper negotiations with launch any new provocations that the DPRK or highlight possible threaten to drag the region into military contradictions in various countries’ conflict, then China may be tempted to stances.” shift positions. After all, China is unlikely to want to become embroiled in a direct “Six-plus-one-Party Talks? EU role in military conflict with the United States. denuclearisation of North Korea” (Philip But China’s response following the two Worré - East Asia Forum). nuclear tests and the 2010 provocations suggests Beijing has a high tolerance for North Korean wrongdoing, China’s and many wonder what exactly is bottom line. American hegemony in perspective Ultimately, Beijing knows full well that, like it or not, it must live with the U.S.-South Korea military alliance – there’s little it can do to stop it. But that doesn’t mean it has to like it, and its suspicions of U.S. and South Korean intentions mean it sees few reasons to change its current policies and help facilitate a resolution to the North Korea issue. ” “The Logic of China's Korea Policy” (Sun Yun - Foreign Policy). “Playing a dominant role in world politics does not make for an easy life. Even very powerful states encounter problems they cannot solve and situations they would prefer to avoid. But as Macbeth remarks after seeing the witches, "Present fears are less than horrible imaginings." What really scares American foreign policy commentators is not any immediate frustration or danger but the prospect of longer-term decline. Recently, the United States has been going through yet another bout of declinism -- the fifth wave in the last six decades, by the scholar Josef Joffe's count. This one has been caused by the juxtaposition of China's rising power and American economic, political, and military malaise. Just as in the past, however, the surge of pessimism has produced a countersurge of defensive optimism, with arguments put forward about the continued value and feasibility of U.S. global leadership. ”

'new' ships undergoing sea trials, and the race is on to see which will be the first to undertake landing trials for fixed wing aircraft. The Times of India reports that India's new carrier, a heavily modified ex-Soviet vessel named INS Vikramaditya which recently went to sea for the first time in its renovated state, will start aviation trials later this month. The new Chinese carrier, another heavily modified ex-Soviet vessel of so far unknown name, has now made eight sea trials, though nothing other than a helicopter is known to have landed on its huge deck.” “India-China: The carrier race” (Sam Roggeveen - The Lowy Interpreter).

Talking tough to Pyongyang “Last Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson and his adviser Jonathan Ossoff criticized what they described as a “dangerous provision” in this year’s house version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The provision, which calls for the Obama administration to consider deploying additional conventional and nuclear forces to the We s t e r n P a c i fi c , i s n ’ t n e a r l y a s “dangerous” as Johnson and Ossoff make it out to be. It is, instead, a reasonable effort to pursue U.S. policy goals in Northeast Asia.” “A Big Stick for North Korea?” (Michael Mazza - The Diplomat).

Is the EU a relevant actor in pressuring North Korea?

“France, Germany and the UK are currently involved in the ‘Five Plus One’ negotiations with Iran (also known as ‘E3 plus 3’); at times they have been seen to adopt ‘hawkish’ attitudes. Yet it is unlikely that the EU joining the Six-Party talks would create the same problem, because a majority of EU member states also have diplomatic relations with the DPRK, and “Hegemony and After” (Robert Keohane some have a long history of involvement Foreign Affairs). in DPRK-related negotiations. Sweden, for example, has five representatives stationed at Panmunjom as members of Are China and India engaged in a the Neutral Nations Supervisory deadlocked race for aircraft carriers? Commission (NNSC), and Poland also attends some NNSC meetings, through “China and India are neck-and-neck South Korea. in their development of new-generation aircraft carriers. Both navies now have



Tensions between the countries have risen


Further thoughts on the SDF's military march in Tokyo “I would argue these exercises are evermore important now, in the wake of the Tohoku disasters of March 2011, where the SelfDefense Forces and US military were at the forefront of the disaster relief efforts, going in and serving the citizens in circumstances where no one else would go. Building on the favourable views of the SDF that emerged from their outstanding performance in Tohoku is of vital importance, as Saraiva rightly pointed out in his clarifications to his original article, and offsets the risk of upsetting a few constituencies by holding the military march in Tokyo. Of course these exercises should not be held too often at the expenses of galvanising public opinion to the true purpose of such exercises. Thusly, the balance between public exposure and withdrawal is indeed a thin one and it should be

threaded carefully.” “Riposte: 2012 Tokyo SDF Military March Part II” (Tiago Mauricio - JFPO). Good arguments for the reform of the SDF Reserves “Breaking down the figures given in the investigation (below), you can see a clear difference between the two kinds of SDF Reserves: the poorly-trained SDF Reservists made up of civilians and former regular SDF, many of whom offer professional skills (language, medical, etc.) to the three services, and the SDF Ready Reservists, the first port-of-call for call-up comprised of former regular SDF personnel and SDF Reservists capable of maintaining highreadiness, operating under GSDF command only. No numbers are given for the readiness of the Ready Reservists who can be

penalized for refusing their duties and be forced to resign. Of the SDF Reservists, 10% failed to respond to the Local Cooperation Offices to state whether they were ready or not, this could partly be due to the effects of the disaster itself.” “Time For a Reform of the SDF Reserves?” (James Simpson - Japan Security Watch). Some in South Korea are alarmed about Japan's security policy “The specter of militarism is rearing its ugly head in Japan, slowly but unmistakably. Japan, which started its military comeback on the international stage with the dispatch of SelfDefense Forces (SDF) troops to the Gulf War in the 1990s, has since stepped up arms exports, and more recently, opened the way


for nuclear armament, at least legally. SDFs more prepared to face "nontraditional security threats such as Now Tokyo is sounding out the natural disasters, terrorist attacks and possibility of allowing SDF to engage epidemics." In this context, Mitsuo in military activities overseas if its Sato, leader of the Tokyo-based allies are attacked, under the pretext Japan Peace Committee, has of ``collective self-defense.” commented that the government’s This means Japanese soldiers can Ministry of Defense is trying to adjust land on ― once again ― the Korean the public on how they see the armed Peninsula if North Korea attacks the forces. He questioned why the troops U.S. troops in South Korea.” needed to carry rifles and warned that since the end of World War II, “Resurgent military power” Japan has been seemingly averse to (Editorial - The Korea Times). military imagery, with SDF troops in uniform only seen at places like military bases or offices for the Again, maritime cooperation is defense ministry. So the Defense building mutual trust in Japan-China Minister's decision seems more like a relations political one, trying to make Japanese people more favorable to a “In among Japan’s much more growing role of the military in the proactive approach to Southeast Japanese Society. Again Mitsuo Sato Asia, including stronger commitments said, “This is an attempt to get the of aid and security cooperation to public used to the presence of armed Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, forces.” Actually some within the and increased tension over the GSDF have criticized the move, Senkaku islands due to questioning whether guns would be developments in Japan’s domestic necessary at the scene of a disaster. politics, you could be forgiven for And residents filed a petition with the thinking that Japan and China have Tokyo District Court seeking a completely burned their bridges in temporary injunction to halt the the last two years. However I passed training exercise, which the court this interesting and unheralded piece rejected.” of information the other day that reminds us that the countries in the “Clarifications on the 2012 Tokyo region are still looking for ways to SDF's march: Why it wasn't smart!” increase confidence and institutionalize cooperation despite (Rui Faro Saraiva - JFPO). difficult geopolitical circumstances. Japan, China and India have enhanced their coordination in piracy A civil-military reading of the rationale patrols near Somalia.” behind the SDF's military march “Japan’s MSDF leads and China’s PLA(N) follows” (Corey Wallace - Japan Security Watch). Complementary views on the impact of the SDF's military march “Yet considering only a strategic or military point of view, and far from being a specialist on this, my common sense tells me that 20 armed military man, marching in Tokyo with camouflage, along with some citizens waving Japanese flags, doesn't represent a valid urban warfare exercise that will make the

militaristic demonstrations and obstructive activities, while camps in rural areas have no problems with residents. In agricultural areas you can confirm residents have close economic and social relations with the GSDF. As political geography and election research showed, rural populations in Japan are strong supporters of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).” “Guest Post with Tashiro Kazuya Civil-Military Views on the SDF's Military March” (Tashiro Kazuya - JFPO). Further thoughts on the SDF's military march in Tokyo

“I would argue these exercises are evermore important now, in the wake of the Tohoku disasters of March 2011, where the Self-Defense Forces and US military were at the forefront of the disaster relief efforts, going in and serving the citizens in circumstances where no one else would go. Building on the favourable views of the SDF that emerged from their outstanding performance in Tohoku is of vital importance, as Saraiva rightly pointed out in his clarifications to his original article, and offsets the risk of upsetting a few constituencies by holding the military march in Tokyo. Of course these exercises should not be held too often at the expenses of galvanising public opinion to the true purpose of such exercises. Thusly, the balance “The things is there are different b e t w e e n p u b l i c e x p o s u re a n d difficulties to obtain the permission withdrawal is indeed a thin one and it each camp. Interestingly, it often should be threaded carefully.” depends on the situations in areas around the base. In this case, Camp “Riposte: 2012 Tokyo SDF Military Nerima is located in the center of an March Part II” urban area, in which there are (Tiago Mauricio - JFPO). political camps of liberal and antimilitaristic pressure groups. Although there are exceptions, urbanization The Japan-US alliance should extend tends to make labor associations or to the cyber realm civilian groups which are sympathetic toward the Democratic Party in Japan “ C o u n t e r i n g c y b e r t h re a t s (DPJ), the Social Democratic Party d e m a n d s c o o p e r a t i o n a m o n g (SDP) and the Japanese Communist nations, in particular public-private Party. partnerships. The key is the timely exchange of warnings and follow-up G e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , G S D F information at the governmental, Camps in urban areas are facing anti- military, and private levels. Without


prompt alerts regarding cyber-attacks or espionage methods and targets, all countries will find it difficult, if not impossible, to detect and prevent attacks. Countries, however, are struggling to identify common ground because they have different interests and concerns, as well as different approaches to privacy and regulations –for reasons ranging from nationalsecurity to impact on economic growth. Thus, it is better to commence cyber collaboration with allies that share interests, economic models, and threat perceptions. ” “Moving Forward with US-Japan Cybersecurity Cooperation ” (Mihoko Matsubara - Defense Professionals). JFPO INTERVIEW: Interview with Christian Wirth Waseda University, Sophia University “Analysts are coming to terms with a fast evolving international power landscape in Northeast Asia, devising novel ways to understand its intricacies and dynamics, as well as its consequences to regional and global peace and stability. However, part of this analytical endeavour is framed in interpretations of historical pasts - such as a Concert of Powers understanding of inter national relations. You have expressed your dissatisfaction with such forceful extrapolations elsewhere (EA post), but why should a traditional understanding not be used when looking at unfolding power dynamics in the region? Given the fact that the idea of a Concert of Asia replicates an attempt, a mental framework that was devised by students of International Relations to understand the interaction among European states in the 19th century, I would reply with the question: why should it be used? Why should it be useful for understanding the relations among Northeast Asian states more than a

century later? As it becomes apparent, the concept is based on the assumption that states are like and unitary actors, which show patterns of behaviour that are uniform across the globe and frozen in time. However, contemporary Northeast Asia is fundamentally different from 19th century Europe in at least two respects: First, societies have become much more complex and pluralistic. As a consequence, even in states with weak or absent democratic institutions, governments are no more able to conduct foreign policy independent from domestic politics and public opinion. This becomes apparent in the fact that elite consensus, for instance on questions of historical recognition or territorial disputes as they were reached among Northeast Asian leaders during the Cold War years, have since the 1990s been unravelling. Second, looking beyond the immediate region, governments are now acting in a globalized environment, that is, the pursuit of their national interests requires more than the mere maintenance of diplomatic ties among foreign ministries. They face the daunting challenge of managing s u rg i n g g l o b a l fl o w s o f people, goods, capital and information. This not only requires close policyc o o r d i n a t i o n , intergover nmental and international institutions have become crucial tools to that end as well. As such, the call for a Concert of Asia, even though it is based on a realist theoretical framework, amounts to a normative call for decision-makers to adjust to changing conditions rather than a practical roadmap based on deeper analysis of socio-economic conditions.

Last, one should not forget that the Concert of Europe meant that while aristocratic elites challenged by democracy movements agreed not to threaten one a n o t h e r, e n g a g e d i n imperialism and colonialism outside of Europe. Moreover, when the Concert order collapsed under the pressures of industrialization and fervent nationalism, militarism eventually led to World War I. As such, the question why this concept is seen as a solution for the future of Northeast Asia and the AsiaPacific is quite interesting, far more interesting than the concept itself. You have also identified an interesting nexus which should be highlighted here. That nexus refers to the contradiction between economics and politics, on the one hand, and the tensions between policy elites and public opinion, on the other. This is particularly relevant when discussing regional integration initiatives in Northeast Asia (and East Asia more broadly) and cooperation at the international level. How do you envision this interplay will affect regional security arrangements, especially in the context of JapanChina relations? After thirty years of the Chinese ‘reform and opening’, the country is strongly integrated into the global markets with the European Union being its most important economic p a r t n e r. T h e J a p a n e s e economy was initially linked to China through Official Development Assistance (ODA) and from the 1990s became increasingly interdependent through the expansion of production networks by Japanese corporations. More recent, Japanese companies have been increasing their efforts to tap into the Chinese


m a r k e t s , e s p e c i a l l y i n they (mis)handle these security c o n s u m e r g o o d s a n d matters. Cohesion and legitimacy of services. the political elites come out as two of the most important issues to bear in The economic crises in North mind, but there are others. What are America and Europe have the challenges ahead, namely in the accelerated the fundamental case of Japan? shift in the orientation of the Japanese economy from In order not to jeopardise its North America toward East economic ties and avoid Asia including China. This tensions that will lead to shift has not happened in drastic increases in defence politics. The contradiction is spending with potentially particularly stark in security violent and devastating p o l i t i c s w h e r e J a p a n ’s conflict, it is in the interest of relations with its Northeast the people and government Asia (and partially also with of Japan to improve relations Southeast Asia) are still with all Northeast Asian marred with tensions caused neighbours, including North by diverging memories of Korea. To be sure, antiwartime history and Japanese nationalism and unresolved maritime territorial military modernization and disputes. The contentions build-ups in China and South over the ownership and Korea as well as North control over islands, rocks K o r e a ’s a t t e m p t s a t and Exclusive Economic developing nuclear weapons Zones (EEZ) with Taiwan, do not make this an easy China, South Korea and task. Russia mean that Japan remains ideationally, and Nevertheless, it is fatalistic therefore also politically, and wrong to believe – as distant from Northeast Asia conservative circles in Japan and as a result closely tied to and the United States like to the United States. There is no - that nothing can be done on doubt that deepening the Japanese side (because economic interdependence the responsibility for tensions will continue to increase the is assigned solely to others). potential costs of conflict and The most urgent task is to have a restraining effect on d e f u s e t h e p o w d e r- k e g political tensions. represented by the East China Sea disputes over the At the same time, however, sovereignty over the Diaoyu/ the instability of political Senkaku islands and the systems and rising delimitation of the Exclusive nationalism resulting from the Economic Zone. The very socio-economic change explosive character of this that comes with the officially problem has been promoted economic underestimated on the development will continue to Chinese and especially on cause tensions akin to the the Japanese side. The stand-off over the collision of reason therefore is that the a Chinese fishing boat with two governments (in line with Japan Coast Guard vessels public opinion) simply do not near the disputed Diaoyu/ take one another’s fears Senkaku islands in serious enough. There is a September 2010. dangerous complacency based on the false conviction The obvious follow-up to the last that the other side, when question is the observation that raising concerns about societies in Northeast Asia will be military developments - be it profoundly influenced by the way the Chinese defence budget

increases and naval activities or the increasingly close cooperation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces with the United States, especially in the maritime sphere and ballistic missile defence - is merely engaging in political propaganda or based on ‘misunderstandings’ of the own benign intentions. In short, Beijing and Tokyo are already caught in a security dilemma. They can only escape this situation by broadening their perspectives beyond the bilateral scope. Shifting our focus back to the regional level, one begins to see a great deal of activity on all fronts: security, diplomatic, economic, financial, cultural and so forth. From a systemic point-of-view, it could be argued that the regional actors are becoming more interconnected, and integrated into the wider international system. Firstly, I wanted to ask if you agree with such an assessment, and secondly, how do you see this greater or lesser interconnectedness affecting the construction of a Northeast Asia region? There is no doubt that Northeast Asian states and societies are growing together, not just at the governmental level and in the economic sphere, but more importantly also through the exchange of people such as promoted by the internationalization of higher education and the increasing convergence of urban cultures. Conditioned by geographic proximity and significant cultural similarities, Northeast Asia should be conceived as a region. Ironically, the fact that history problems rooted in the same traumatic events divide political communities is the strongest proof of common heritage. However, contrary to the linear mechanics envisioned


by earlier theories of regional integration employed to explain the European experience of regionbuilding, social and political integration is not a guaranteed outcome of rapidly increasing interdependence because previously held beliefs and practices are profoundly being questioned and therefore create resistance from those who fear to become losers of change. It is for this reason that visions of regional cooperation and institutions are important. They help decision-leaders to adopt novel ways of thinking that differ from ideas that caused and are informed by the violent past. Looking at your previous reflections on these issues, one sees that you have taken a somewhat different research path. Namely in terms of your analyses on the constructions of identity ('us' and 'them') in JapanChina relations, but also when looking at modernity in governance practices in the region. I would like to know why and how you have adopted this constructivist view on mutual regional dynamics. Additionally, I would also appreciate if you could share a few comments on the advantages you think such a nontraditional approach has on looking at power and security phenomena. The reason for me favouring sociologically-informed explanations of international relations is twofold and can be found in my personal background and the reality of Northeast Asian politics. Trained as a lawyer and army officer, and despite being exposed to a heavy dose of economics, I have long been aware that, as a legal principle says: ‘things have to be treated differently according to the degree of their difference’ and that people simply do not follow objective rules of rationality when making decisions.

There are always very human emotions involved that have to be taken seriously. This is not surprising because, after all, politics is about people. M a i n s t re a m t h e o r i e s o f international relations such as liberalism and realism, however, do not treat actors as human. Rather, in an effort to render their analyses ‘scientific,’ they conceive them as homogeneous units deprived of subjectivity. This is because each theory is wedded to a particular era. Mainstream theoretical paradigms have their roots in the European enlightenment’s belief system based on r a t i o n a l i t y, o b j e c t i v i t y, progress and the fundamental desirability of m o d e r n i t y. L i b e r a l international relations theories emerged in the aftermath of World War I and became popular again in the economic growth phase of the 1970s. Realist theories are deeply conditioned by the outbreak of World War II and the straightjacket of the nuclear confrontation of the Cold War. As a consequence of their basic assumptions, a considerable range of phenomena cannot be explained by the application o f l i b e r a l i s t a n d re a l i s t concepts. How would one, for instance, explain how Switzerland comprised of several social groups with different languages and customs came to form a cohesive political unit across geographical barriers like the Alps. M o re o v e r, w h y, d e s p i t e strong economic and cultural ties with its European neighbours would the Swiss stay away from the European Union while, in spite of the end of the Cold War and being surrounded by

powerful states, cherish their adherence to permanent political neutrality more than ever? Likewise, looking at Northeast Asia, how can realist approaches explain why North Korea is seen as a conventional military threat even though its people are suffering from humanitarian crises while the armed forces remain technologically stuck in the 1960s? Why has Japan, despite being democratic and militarily clearly inferior been perceived as a threat to the United States in the 1980s? Why do South Korea and Japan, even though they face a rising China, have a common ally in the United States and are governed by democratically elected governments, having such a hard time to improve their relations? Why is India, despite its size, economic growth rates, military modernization including aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and domination of the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, and a very mixed human rights record not seen as a threat similar to China? These are all important issues that point to the severe shortcomings of positivist theoretical paradigms. As a final question, in your research you have also looked at issues of ocean governance and maritime security in a regional context. As recent events have clearly demonstrated, the maritime dimension is likely to figure prominently in any regional security architecture, as it entails issues pertaining to territorial disputes, energy resources, food sufficiency, nuclear deterrence, law enforcement and protection of national waters, military build-up and so forth. Can you please give your understanding of how important events at sea are to the regional actors and what are the expectations with regards to possible areas of cooperation to defuse existing and potential threats?


Indeed, due to the unique character of the maritime sphere it has become the space in which contentions, especially among governmental actors from within and outside of the region are being played out. This is particularly apparent in the South China Sea and the East China Sea where navies and coast guards in increasing numbers and equipped with the newest technologies compete in the control of maritime space. This comes in the forms of attempts at safeguarding sea lanes of communication, protecting economic rights in exclusive economic zones and the enforcement of territorial claims to features ranging from reefs over rocks to islands, or just ‘denying access’ by patrolling and tracking one another’s naval vessels.

its insurance documents issued by a corporation in third. Its crew will be composed of a range of nationals with the sailors, for example, holding Philippine passports while officers predominantly being Italian. A part of the cargo loaded in hundreds of containers may, for instance, be insured by a Singaporean company and consist of notebook computers and smartphones developed in California and produced in China by a Taiwanese company, to be exported to India. Although this example is somewhat different from the exploration and trade of crude oil, the fact that that c o m m o d i t y m a r k e t s a re globalized too, means that the conclusion remains the same: Certain governmental actors argue that they need to protect their sea lanes and their national resources from domination by other countries and show military presence by patrolling and surveying the East Asian seas. Given the network character of economic and social interaction just outlined, this seems quite odd. Surprisingly, outside of professional circles directly involved in shipping and trade, the thinking in categories of nation states is rarely questioned. This leads me to the conclusion that the conception of world politics as a system of states, however inadequate, is still needed for some to make sense and define their place and purpose in our increasingly complex world. If we were aware of that, future conflict could be avoided.”

The irony in all this is that the maritime sphere and the assets that governments seek to protect are in reality global public goods because the freedom of navigation, even natural resources such as oil and fish have little if any value for a specific country alone. Rather than being nationalized, trade flows and crude oil markets are global. It makes little sense to argue about the protection of a vessel by a state from attack by another because it is impossible to attribute the ship and its cargo to one country. Let me make the example of a large container vessel sailing through the Malacca Strait, the type of which numbers have been surging over the last decades. Most likely the vessel will carry a flag of “Interview with Christian Wirth” (Tiago convenience such as Mauricio - JFPO). Panama or Liberia. Its operating company may be based in a European country, the shareholders in another,



  “Tokyo “China

will fight for Senkakus” sure to oppose Senkaku ownership” fishermen stayed on 'uninhabited'


U.S. agree to ensure safe operation of Osprey aircraft” Germany agree to work closely on Afghanistan, Iran” Clinton agree to work closely on bilateral, Asia-Pacific issues” France start joint weapons talks” chief wants MSDF executive officer”




gov't planning to buy disputed Senkaku Islands from owner” to make bid for Senkakus”


“Government “Politician


sets foot on Senkaku isle” visits Kunashiri Island”

“RIMPAC  “4

“Medvedev “Russia's

Taiwan boats enter Japan waters” tent protest enters 3,000th day”

PM Medvedev launches Far East Medvedev angers Japan with island

“Henoko “Now


it is Taiwan that is taking a hard-line stance on Senkaku issue” Japan to test-produce shale oil as early as 2013” attach strings to $15 billion aid for Afghanistan” Naval Base starts a nursery for toddlers” chief may visit U.S. to discuss MV-22 starts to probe military pact snafu” plan”



raps Medvedev's visit to disputed Kunashiri Island” isle visit draws ire” 'indifferent' to Japan over island military pact unlikely”


“Medvedev “Medvedev


“Korea-Japan “Surely


Japan and South Korea can patch things up”



visit to Kunashiri puzzles Japanese officials” 'ready to discuss new UNSC membership status'” minister eyes U.S. trip in July, Osprey on agenda” of SDF reserves ready on 3/11”


Security Council extends S.Sudan peacekeepers” SDF: Looking for a Few Good Women — As Mates” first nuclear missile men break silence”








from Japan, China call for privatesector forum to resolve Senkaku dispute” to Osprey deployment grows in Yamaguchi” gov. adamant on Osprey”

seeks permission for collective selfdefense” eyeing off new Japanese submarines” alliance grows for AsiaPacific security balance” for 'Pivot to Asia'” Japan’s militarization”




“Okinawa “U.S.

to keep using "Sea of Japan" as name for waters off Japan” ship carrying Ospreys departs U.S. port for Japan” assembly to adopt statement opposing Osprey test flights” call for an end to dispute over islands” Alings With India on Piracy Patrols”


“[Editorial] “RIMPAC


2012 – Naval Forces Roaming in the Pacific”


“31st MEU Maritime Raid Force hits the target in Fuji ”




purchase plan trumps creation of national political party: Ishihara” space law shift rattles regional nerves” warms Russo-Japanese relations”




Korea looks into botched military agreement with Japan” panel calls for collective defense rights”



China agree on joint maritime claim against Japan” Seeks to Relax Curbs on Military Deployment”




Partnership: Info-News” by the Founders 2012 Tokyo SDF's Military March Part


II” by Tiago Mauricio on 2012 Tokyo SDF's Military March: Why It Wasn't Smart!” by Rui Faro Saraiva
“Civil-Military “Clarifications

Views on the GSDF's March in On our website this week

Tokyo” by Tashiro Kazuya

with Christian Wirth” by Tiago Mauricio

Editor: TIAGO MAURICIO Editor’s Mailbox: mauricio.tiago.47x(at)st.kyoto-u.ac.jp Kyoto, Japan

East Asia Security and Defence Digest covers expert analysis and news highlights on East Asian Security and Defence Affairs. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JFPO. JAPAN FOREIGN POLICY OBSERVATORY (JFPO) HTTP://WWW.JAPANFPO.ORG/

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