Tokyo and Washington Writing New Guidelines for Military Partnerships

Tokyo and Washington Writing New Guidelines for Military Partnerships

American and Japanese officials are in talks to complete a “vision statement” for how the two allies might work together in the security arena of their 1997 Defense Cooperation document, according to a senior Pentagon official.

An interim planning document released today in Tokyo by American and Japanese officials lays out a broad agenda for possible cooperation that includes disaster response, ISR, cyber, intelligence sharing, air and missile defense programs and defense equipment and technology cooperation.

“Space and cyber” in particular are a focus said a State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“These are new domains that we didn’t even think about in 1997.”

The now-17-year-old guidelines for U.S.-Japanese Defense Cooperation were negotiated with a post-Cold War worldview in mind, the official said, but the world is today vastly different, and threats have changed.

The non-binding agreement — which is expected to be published by the end of this year — is all about “expanding the scope of our alliance, and the reason for that is that Japan has already been working since 1997 in places far from Japan,” such as in Afghanistan and in hot spots in Africa, the official said.

Going into the talks between Tokyo and Washington, the two sides agreed that they needed to “improve our system for how we make decisions in a crisis” the State Department official said, adding that the new guidelines will provide a framework for “how the US and Japan share roles and missions” across the globe.

The paper comes just after Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work returned from a long trip to the Asia region, where he consulted with allies while trying to inject some new life into the strategic “rebalance” of the Asia-Pacific region that the Obama administration insists hasn’t been derailed by events in the Middle East and budget cuts at home.

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