Boosting Tokyo’s presence is key to regional security.
Why the South China Sea Needs Japan’s Navy
Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) remains a Cold War navy. As U.S. Naval War College professor James Holmes has argued, the JMSDF has been designed to fill specific niches in partnership with the United States in combating the threats that would have emanated from the Soviet Union; thus, we have seen particularly proficient capabilities like antisubmarine warfare and minesweeping. Is now the time for the JMSDF to change its mind about its goals, fulfilling a new security role in the region and in the world as partners of the United States as spelled out under the Japanese policy of a “Proactive Contribution to Peace”?
In the changed conditions of the twenty-first century, the most realistic security approach for the JMSDF will involve more so-called “Non-Combat Military Operation” (NCMO) missions, like Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief and anti-piracy operations in the Asia Pacific region in conjunction with the U.S. Navy.
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