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National Security Strategy of Japan

I. Purpose

Maintaining the peace and security of Japan and ensuring its survival are the primary responsibilities of the Government of Japan. As Japan’s security environment becomes ever more severe,Japan needs to identify its national interests from a long-term perspective to determine the course it should pursue in the international community, and adopt a whole-government approach for national security policies and measures in order to continue developing a prosperous and peaceful society.

Dispute with China over territory

Japan has contributed to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. In a world where globalization reigns supreme,Japan should play an even more proactive role as a major global player in the international community.

Based on such a recognition, the Government of Japan hereby sets forth this National Security Strategy (hereinafter referred to a “the Strategy”) in order to set out Japan’s fundamental policies pertaining to national security.

The Strategy first elaborates on Japan’s peaceful orientation to date and the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, examines its national interests and identifies its national security objectives. Furthermore, the Strategy identifies national security challenges that are being faced by Japan, taking into account the trends of the security environment surrounding Japan. Finally, the Strategy presents strategic approaches to be taken for national security, with diplomatic and defense policies at the very core of it, based on the recognition that in order to overcome the challenges and achieve its objectives, Japan needs to effectively utilize its diverse resources and promote comprehensive measures to strengthen the domestic foundation for national security and seek deeper understanding, both at home and abroad, and advance efforts at various levels in a multifaceted and coordinated manner.

The Strategy, dictates the fundamental policies pertaining to national security, presents guidelines for policies in areas related to national security, including sea, outer space, cyberspace, official development assistance and energy. 

Japan-US Military Cooperation

Pursuant to the Strategy with the National Security Council (NSC) serving as the control tower, and strong political leadership at its helm, the Government of Japan will implement national security policies in a more strategic and structured manner through a whole-government approach.

In addition, when implementing policies in other areas, the Government of Japan will give due consideration to national security so that Japan can utilize its strengths, such as its diplomatic ability and defense capability in a smooth and fully-functional way as a whole, based on the Strategy.

The Strategy will guide Japan’s national security policy over the next decade. Through the implementation of concrete policies, the NSC will regularly carry out systematic evaluation and iterative upgrades to the Strategy in a timely and appropriate manner. Should any major changes in the situation occur; the NSC will review this Strategy in consideration of the security environment at the time, and make necessary revisions.

II. Fundamental Principle of National Security

a. Principles Japan Upholds

Japan is a country with rich culture and tradition, and upholds universal values, such as freedom, democracy, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.Japan has a wealth of highly educated human capital and high cultural standards, and is an economic power with strong economic capacity and high technological capabilities.Japanhas achieved its development benefiting from an open international economic system.

Surrounded by the sea on all sides and blessed with an immense exclusive economic zone and an extensive coastline,Japan as a maritime state has achieved economic growth through maritime trade and development of marine resources, and has pursued “Open andStableSeas.”

Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation since the end of World War II. Japan has adhered to a basic policy of maintaining an exclusively national defense-oriented policy, not becoming a military power that poses a threat to other countries, and observing the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

In addition,Japanhas maintained its security, and contributed to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, by enhancing its alliance with the United States (U.S.) with which it shares universal values and strategic interests, as well as by deepening cooperative relationships with other countries.

Moreover,Japan has contributed to the realization of stability and prosperity in the international community through initiatives for supporting the economic growth of developing countries and for addressing global issues based on the principle of human security, as well as through trade and investment relations with other countries. In particular, Japan’s cooperation contributed to realizing stability, economic growth and democratization in many countries, especially those in Asia, including the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Furthermore, as a peace-loving nation, complying with the United Nations (U.N.) Charter,Japan has been cooperating with the U.N. and other international organizations, and has actively contributed to their activities. In particular,Japan has continuously participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations (PKO), as the role of military forces diversified after the end of the Cold War. In addition, as the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombs in war,Japanhas consistently engaged in disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, playing a leading role in international initiatives to realize “a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The course that Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation has garnered significant praise and respect from the international community, andJapanmust continue these steps to further consolidate such a position.

At the same time, surrounded by an increasingly severe security environment and confronted by complex and grave national security challenges, it has become indispensable for Japan to make more proactive efforts in line with the principle of international cooperation.Japan cannot secure its own peace and security by itself, and the international community expects Japan to play a more proactive role for peace and stability in the world, in a way commensurate with its national capabilities.

Against this backdrop, under the evolving security environment, Japan will continue to adhere to the course that it has taken to date as a peace-loving nation, and as a major player in world politics and economy, contribute even more proactively in securing peace, stability, and prosperity of the international community, while achieving its won security as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as a “Proactive Contributor to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. This is the fundamental principle of national security thatJapanshould stand to hold.

b. Japan’s National Interests and National Security Objectives

In order to achieve the fundamental principle of national security by implementation of concrete policies, the Government of Japan needs to define our national interests and national security objectives, examine them in the context of the constantly evolving security environment, and mobilize all possible means.

Japan’s national interests are, first of all, to maintain its sovereignty and independence; to defend its territorial integrity; to ensure the safety of life, person, and properties of its nationals, and to ensure its survival while maintaining its own peace and security grounded on freedom and democracy and preserving its rich culture and tradition.

In addition,Japan’s national interests are to achieve the prosperity ofJapan and its nationals through economic development, thereby consolidating its peace and security. To this end, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, it is essential thatJapan, as a maritime state, strengthens the free trade regime for accomplishing economic development through free trade and competition, and realizes an international environment that offers stability, transparency and predictability.

Similarly, the maintenance and protection of international order based on rules and universal values, such as freedom, democracy, respect for fundamental human rights, and the rule of law, are likewise in Japans national interests.

In order to safeguard these national interests and to fulfill our responsibility in the international community, Japan, adopting the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation as a fundamental principle, will seek to achieve the following national security objectives.

The first objective is to strengthen the deterrence necessary for maintaining its peace and security and for ensuring its survival, thus deterring threats from directly reachingJapan; at the same time, if by any chance a threat should reachJapan, to defeat such threat and to minimize the damage.

The second objective is to improve the security environment of the Asia-Pacific region, and prevent the emergence of and reduce direct threats toJapan, through strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, enhancing the trust and cooperative relationships betweenJapanand its partners within and outside the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting practical security cooperation.

The third objective is to improve the global security environment and build a peaceful. stable, and prosperous international community by strengthening the international order based on universal values and rules, and by playing a leading role in the settlement of disputes, through consistent diplomatic efforts and further personnel contributions.

III. Security Environment Surrounding Japan and National Security Challenges

a. Global Security Environment and Challenges

(1) Shift in the Balance of Power and Rapid Progress of Technological Innovation

Since the beginning of the twenty first century, the balance of power in the international community has been changing on an unprecedented scale, and this has substantially influenced the dynamics of international politics.

The primary drivers of this change in the balance of power are the emerging countries, includingChina andIndia. In particular,China is further increasing its presence in the international community. On the other hand, though its relative influence in the international community is changing, theU.S. remains the country that has the world’s largest power as a whole, composed of its soft power originating from its values and culture, on top of its military and economic power. Furthermore, theU.S.has manifested its policy to shift its emphasis of national security and economic policy towards the Asia-Pacific region (the “rebalance” policy).

While the change in the balance of power has encouraged the shift of the center of gravity of world politics and economy from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it has also been a reason for a weakening leadership in global government, as exemplified by the stalled negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In addition, while the rapid advancement of globalization and technological innovation has deepened interdependence among states, it has also invited a change in the relative influence between states and non-state actors, and brought about a complex impact on the global security environment.

Sovereign states remain the principal actors in the international community, and conflict and coordination between states continue to be the most significant factors affecting global stability. However, as Cross-border flow of people, goods, capital, information and other items have been facilitated more easily by the advancement of globalization; non-state actors are beginning to play a more important role in decision-making in the international community.

In addition, the advancement of globalization and technological innovation bears negative impact. Terrorism and crimes committed by non-state actors are posing serious threats to the security of any country. Today, these threats, irrespective of where they originate in the world, could instantly have a direct influence on the security ofJapan.

(2) Threat of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Other Related Materials

As the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombs in war, Japan best understands the tragedy of the use of unclear weapons and shoulders the responsibility to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. The issue of the transfer, proliferation, and performance improvement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (NBC), and their means of delivery, such as ballistic missiles, remain major threats to Japan and the international community. In particular, the issue of nuclear and missile development byNorth Korea and the nuclear issue ofIrancontinue to pose grave threats to peace and stability, not only in each region but also in the entire international community. Moreover, there remain concerns over the acquisition and the use of WMD and related items by non-state actors. Including international terrorist organizations, against which traditional deterrence may not function effectively.

(3) Threat of International Terrorism

Terrorist attacks continue to occur around the world, and the threat of terrorism by international terrorist organizations remains serious. The advancement of globalization has made it easier for those organizations to share information and conspire within their own organizations and with other groups, and to secure geographical access and acquire arms.

International terrorism has spread and become diverse in its forms. International terrorist organizations are utilizing politically unstable and weakly governed countries and regions as bases for operation and training for terror activities. The ideologies of such terrorist organizations are also motivating other groups and individuals to commit terrorist acts.

Some international terrorist organizations designateJapan as their target. Terrorist attacks against Japanese nationals and interests have actually taken place overseas.Japanand its people fare the threat of international terrorism both at home and abroad. Diversity of nationality of the perpetrators and victims in recent international terrorism cases has underscored the increasing importance of combating terrorism through international cooperation.

(4) Risks to Global Commons

In recent years, risks that can impede the utilization of and free access to global commons, such as the sea, outer space, and cyberspace, have been spreading and become more serious. While the seas are governed by international maritime law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), there have been an increasing number of cases of unilateral actions in an attempt to change the status quo by coercion without paying respect to existing international law. With regard to outer space and cyberspace, applicable norms remain to he developed clue to the different positions among relevant countries.

Against such a backdrop, not only for economic development but also for the national security of each country, it has therefore become even more important to promote appropriate international rule-making over global commons and to make concerted efforts by the international community while respecting such rules.

“Open andStableSeasconstitute the basis for peace and prosperity of the international community as a whole. In this regard, each state has been tackling on its own or with others various issues including piracy, unidentified vessels, illegal clumping, contraband, human trafficking, maritime disasters, and the removal of hazardous substances, for maintaining the stability of sea lanes of communication.

However, in recent years, the number of cases of conflict of interests between or among states over natural resources and the security of respective states is increasing. As a result, there is a growing risk of incidents at sea, and of possible escalation into unexpected situations.

In the South China Sea in particular, disputes that have arisen over sovereignty between coastal states andChina cause concerns over the maintenance of the rule of law at sea, freedom of flax navigation, and stability in the Southeast Asian region. In addition, vulnerability is also increasing in sea lanes of communication, spanning betweenJapan and the Middle East, on whichJapanis largely dependent for its natural and energy resources, due to various problems including regional conflicts and international terrorism in and around the coastal states, as well as piracy. Therefore, advancing efforts to address these issues is also important for securing the sea lanes.

Furthermore, theArcticSeais deemed to have enormous potential for developing new shipping routes and exploration of natural resources. While it is expected that states concerned work together under relevant international rules, such potential could provide new causes of friction among them.

While outer space has been utilized for civil purposes, from security perspective, the importance of outer space has dramatically increased in recent years, given its use for the reinforcement of capabilities for information gathering and surveillance, as well as for securing communication means for military purposes.

On the other hand, the congestion of outer space has heightened as more countries utilize outer space. There exist risks that could impede the continuous and stable use of outer space with an increasing amount of space debris caused by anti-satellite tests and satellite collisions amongst others, as well as with the development of counter-space weapons.

Cyberspace, a global domain comprised of information systems, telecommunications networks and others, provides a foundation for social, economic, military and other activities. Meanwhile, risks of cyber-attacks with the intent to steal classified information, disrupt critical infrastructure and obstruct military systems, are becoming more serious.

In Japan, with an increasing level of connecting networks of social systems and various other elements, cyberspace is necessary for promoting both economic growth and innovation through the free flow of information in cyberspace. Protecting cyberspace from the above-mentioned risks is vital to secure national security.

(5) Challenges to Human Security

Globalization has enabled people, goods, capital, and information to instantaneously move across borders in large quantities. As a result, international economic activities have expanded, thereby bringing prosperity to the in international community.

In contrast, global issues that cannot he dealt with by a single country - namely, poverty, widening inequality, global health challenges including infectious diseases, climate change and other environmental issues, food security, and humanitarian crises caused by civil wars and natural disasters - are emerging as critical and urgent issues of human security, threatening the very survival and dignity of individuals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), common goals in the development field to be achieved by the international community, are not likely to be achieved in some regions and sectors. In addition, the increasing demand for energy, food, and water resources clue to the population growth in developing countries and the expansion of economic scale could cause new conflicts.

These challenges could have repercussions on peace and stability of the international community; therefore,Japanneeds to promote necessary measures based on the principle of human security.

(6) The Global Economy and Its Risks

In today’s global economy, no economy is self-sufficient and isolated from the world economy; thus the risk of the expansion of an economic crisis from one country to the entire global economy is growing. While this trend is conspicuous in the financial economy, today, it is also witnessed in the real economy, as value chains and supply chains are established across borders with increasing international specialization.

Under these circumstances, there arc concerns over fiscal problems and the slowdown in the growth of emerging economies. In some emerging economies and developing countries, visible signs of protectionism as well as reluctance towards the creation of new trade rules have been observed.

Furthermore, in recent years, with the’ advancement of technological innovation in energy sector, one has seen the rise of resource nationalism in resource rich countries and growing global demand, especially in emerging economies, for energy and mineral resources, followed by the intensified competition for the acquisition of such resources. In addition, given the aggravating environmental problems arising from climate change, there are risks of crunches in global supply and demand as well as temporary shortages of supply in food and water.

b. Security Environment and Challenges in the Asia-Pacific Region

(1) Characteristics of the Strategic Environment of the Asia-Pacific Region

The shift in the global power balance has elevated the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in the international community. While this shift provides opportunities for security cooperation, it has also given rise to regional issues and tensions.

In particular, the region ofNortheast Asiais home to a host of actors, such as countries with large-scale military forces, or those possessing nuclear weapons or continuing with nuclear development. Yet a regional cooperation framework in the security realm has not been sufficiently institutionalized. Countries in the region have contrasting political, economic, and social systems, and thus their security views are diverse, which constitutes another characteristic of the strategic environment of this region.

In this context, in addition to the issues and tensions arising from the shift in the balance of power, the Asia-Pacific region has become more prone to so-called gray-zone situations, situations that are neither pure peacetime nor contingencies over territorial sovereignty and interests. There is a risk that these ‘’gray-zone’’ situations could further develop into grave situations.

On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific region is also witnessing a rise in opportunities for bilateral exchanges and cooperation among countries in the region. In addition, there have been multilateral security dialogues, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and bilateral and multilateral joint exercises. These initiatives are contributing to the development of mutual understanding and enhancement of joint response capabilities. Therefore, it is important to further promote and develop these multilayered initiatives for regional stability.

(2)North Korea’s Military Buildup and Provocative Actions

In theKoreanPeninsula, the large-scale military forces of the Republic of Korea (ROK) andNorth Korea confront each other. WhileNorth Korea continues to face serious economic difficulties without any improvement in its human rights situation,North Koreaheavily allocates its resources on military affairs today.

In addition,North Korea has enhanced the capability of WMDs including nuclear weapons and that of ballistic missiles. At the same time,North Korea has repeatedly taken provocative military actions in theKoreanPeninsula including the use of provocative rhetoric; some of which are directed atJapan, thereby increasing the tension in the region.

In particular,North Korea’s ballistic missiles development, including those with ranges covering the mainland of theU.S., along with its continued attempts to miniaturize nuclear weapons for warheads and equipping them to ballistic missiles, substantially aggravate the threat to the security of the region, includingJapan. These concerns pose a serious challenge to the entire international community from the view-point of the non-proliferation of WMD and related materials.

As Kim Jung-mi, First Chairman of the National Defense Commission, has been making efforts to consolidate his regime, the domestic situation inNorth Koreaneeds to be closely monitored.

Furthermore,North Korea’s abduction is a grave issue affectingJapan’s sovereignty as well as the lives and safety of Japanese nationals. It is an urgent issue for the Government of Japan to resolve under its responsibility and a universal issue for the international community to address as a violation of fundamental human rights.

(3)China’s Rapid Rise and Intensified Activities in Various Areas

There is an expectation forChina to share and comply with international norms, and play a more active and cooperative role for regional and global issues. On the other hand,China has been rapidly advancing its military capabilities in a wide range of areas through its continued increase in its military budget without sufficient transparency. In addition,China has taken actions that can he regarded as attempts to change the status quo by coercion based on their own assertions, which are incompatible with the existing order of international law, in the maritime and aerial domains, including the East China Sea and theSouth China Sea. In particular,China has rapidly expanded and intensified its activities in the seas and airspace aroundJapan, including intrusion intoJapan’s territorial waters and airspace around theSenkakuIslands. Moreover,China has shown the move that appears to unduly infringe the freedom of overflight above the high seas by establishing its own “Air Defense Identification Zone” over theEast China Sea.

Such an external stance and military activities byChina, coupled with a lack of transparency in its military affairs and security policy, have become an issue of concern to the international community includingJapan; therefore, the Government of Japan needs to pay careful attention to this situation.

The relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait has deepened in recent years, primarily in economic areas. Meanwhile, the military balance between the two sides has been changing. Thus, the cross-strait relationship contains both orientations towards stability and potential instability.