Japan’s defence policy

Regional security challenges must be recognised

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – David McNeill’s article “Tokyo Letter: ‘Pacifist’ Japan is tooling up for war” (World, April 16th) does not mention a key perspective of Japan’s defence policy.

I would like to provide the readers of The Irish Times with an explanation of Japan’s defence policy as clarified during the recent state visit of Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida to the US.

At the Japan-US summit meeting on April 10th held in Washington, the recognition was shared that the international community is facing an unprecedented level of challenges, with freedom and democracy under threat worldwide.

The two leaders confirmed that Japan and the US have become global partners beyond bilateral or regional spheres, to uphold and bolster the free and open international order based on the rule of law.


As the role of the Japan-US alliance has become more significant than ever before, Mr Kishida stated that with a strong determination he has been making efforts to reinforce its defence capabilities, in accordance with its national security strategy, including the future possession of counter-strike capabilities and the increase of its defence budget.

The two leaders reaffirmed the urgent need to further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance by expanding and deepening security and defence co-operation, including our upgrade of respective command and control frameworks in order to enhance interoperability and planning between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the US forces.

US president Joe Biden also reiterated unwavering US commitment to the defence of Japan.

In the face of pressing regional security challenges, the two leaders confirmed promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific, based on their determination to strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.

It should be emphasised that Japan’s defence policy has been consolidated in these contexts to address issues faced by the international community.

As a peace-loving nation, Japan will adhere to the basic policy of maintaining an exclusively national defence-oriented policy, not becoming a military power that poses a threat to other countries, and observing the three non-nuclear principles [non-possession, non-production, and non-introduction of nuclear weapons]. – Yours, etc,


Ambassador of Japan to Ireland,

Dublin 4.