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Outline of The Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements

Based on the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty, the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements constitute one of the pillars of Japan’s national defense. The Japan–U.S. Alliance, having the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements as its core, is indispensable to maintain not only the peace and security of Japan, but also that of the entire Asia-Pacifi c region. In addition, the close cooperative relationship between Japan and the United States based on the alliance is proving to be extremely significant for effectively dealing with global security issues. Furthermore, the Japan–U.S. Alliance is playing an increasingly important role in promoting the shared fundamental values in the international community such as democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and a capitalist economy.

The military presence of the U.S. forces in Japan not only contributes to the defense of Japan, but also functions as deterrence against and response to contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region, and serves as a core element of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. On the other hand, since the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan impacts upon the living environment of local residents, efforts that correspond to the actual situation of each region must be made to reduce the burden on regions such as Okinawa.

Major Milestones in Security Cooperation Between Japan and the United States

Japan-U.S. Bilateral Training and Exercises

The SDF and the U.S. forces have been conducting various bilateral training and exercises in peacetime to strengthen Japan- U.S. joint response capabilities while improving interoperability and facilitating mutual understanding in regard to tactical aspects, etc. and closer communication. Since FY1985, mostly on an annual basis, command post exercise and fi eld training exercise have alternated as the Japan–U.S. Bilateral Joint Training Exercise; the fi eld training exercise held in November 2012 was the 11th of its kind. In addition, the GSDF, MSDF and ASDF are expanding the scope of joint exercises, by such means as dispatching units not only to areas within Japan, but also to the U.S., such as participation in exercises including the Japan–U.S. Bilateral Regional Army command post exercises, special anti-submarine exercises, and Japan–U.S. Bilateral Fighter combat training. Thus, continuous efforts are being made to improve interoperability and bilateral response capabilities at the military service and unit levels. As part of the efforts, Stryker Battalion, with its high maneuvering and deployment capabilities and equipped with wheeled armored personnel carrier Stryker, participated for the fi rst time in fi eld training jointly held with the U.S. army and GSDF in Japan from October to November 2012. GSDF troops participating in the exercise trained in coordination procedures with the battalion. Such joint training and exercises in peacetime not only greatly contribute to maintaining and enhancing the Japan-U.S. joint response capabilities by deepening mutual understanding of capabilities and tactics, but also are effective for improving tactical skills on each side. In particular, the knowledge and techniques that the Japanese side can learn from U.S. forces, which have vast experience in actual fi ghting, are invaluable and greatly contribute to improving the JSDF’s capabilities. In addition, holding bilateral exercises at effective times, places, and scales demonstrates the unifi ed commitment and capabilities of Japan and the United States, which has a deterrent effect. In light of these perspectives, the MOD and the SDF are continuing their efforts to enrich the contents of bilateral training and exercises.

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