Editorial: Security in new era, enhance diplomatic and defense tie further

October 8 , 2019

We have already entered a new era that the country’s own security which protects lives and properties of the nation cannot be achieved by the efforts of the government alone. Therefore, diplomatic and defense relations are essential for security.

MOFA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reorganized its security policy division and made a fresh start with 3 new offices this month: “new security issue policy office,” “space and ocean security policy office,” and “international peace and security cooperation office.” Japan is forced to take action against the nuclear development problem and sophistication of military technologies in North Korea. Full preparation for such actions is required.

MOFA presents 3 purposes of reorganization: The first is to expand the range of security to such as economy and technology, the second is to respond to increasingly important matters related to space and ocean in a unified manner, and the third is to promote dispatching the Self-Defense Force overseas at normal time as well as cooperation with the SDF and international armed forces.

The background of this reorganization is the “National Defense Program Guidelines” approved in the Cabinet at the end of the last year.

The guidelines show the recognition that the environment of security is “changing in extremely high speed” and present the increasing uncertainty in the current international order due to the enhancement of China and Russia as well as increased importance of 3 new domains – space, cyber and electromagnetic wave – due to the advancement of military technologies as the reasons. The second reason is especially taken seriously as it is changing how security ought to be from its root which has been focusing on the conventional domains of the land, sea and air.

The guidelines point out the “progress of mutual understanding and trusted relations” with both China and Russia. Meanwhile the guidelines also call for promotion of diverse security cooperation with Australia, India and South Korea based on the Japan-U.S. security agreements.

This means to take a two-phased approach of “dialogue” (diplomacy) with China and Russia and “deterrence” (defense) through the Japan-U.S. security. The cooperation between MOFA and MOD, the Ministry of Defense, would be the key to success.

Improvement of SDF’s capacity in those 3 new domains is also urgent. The U.S. military is proceeding to establish a structure to share the information acquired from those 3 domains among the ground, maritime and air forces on their network. Japan should not leave any wholes on the network with the U.S. military due to the lack of capacity in SDF which cooperates with them.

We hope the reorganization this time would lead to the improvement in effectiveness of “dialogue and deterrence.”