Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy 9789814379960

Tracing the historical development of Japan-Southeast Asia relations, this study explains the “ASEAN factor” in Japanese

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Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy

Table of contents :
I. Introduction
II. Evolution of Japan's Security Policy
III. Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia
IV. The ASEAN Factor
V. Japan's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues
VI. Conclusion

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SUEO SUDO is a Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies specializing in Japan - Southeast Asia relations .

The Pacific Strategjc Papers focus on current issues in the field of strategic studies pertaining to the Asia-Pacific region . The series is aimed at a broad readership that ranges from the serious a.cademic specialist to th.e well· informed observer in the corporate and public sectors. Many of the Pacific Strategic Papers originate from studies conducted by the Regional Strategic Studies Programme (RSSP) of the Institute. The Regional Strategic Studies Programme (RSSPJ was set up in 1981 to encourage study of va.rious security issues and developments affecting the Asia-Pacific region . The Programme is based at the Insti tute of Southeast Asian Studies under the overall supervision of its Director, who is guided by a regional committee , a Programme Planner, and a Co-ordinator. The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) was established as an autonomous organization in 1968. It is a regional research centre fo.r schol· ars and other specialists concerned with modem Southeast Asia, particularly the many-faceted problems of stability and security, economic development, and political and social change. The Institute is governed by a twenty-twomember Board of Trustees comprising nominees from the Singapore Gov· ernment, the National University of Singapore, the various Chambers of Commerce , and professional and civic organizations. A ten·man Executive Committee oversees day·to-day operations; it is chaired by the Director, the Institute's chief academic and administrative officer.



Regional Strategic Studies Programme INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES

Published by Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Heng Mui Keng Terrace Pasir Panjang Singapore 0511 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system , or transmitted in any form or by any means , electronic, mechanical , photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. © 1991 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies The responsibility for fa cts and opinions expressed in this publication rests exclusively with the author and his interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views or the policy of the Institute or its supporters.

Cataloguing in Publication Data Sudo , Sueo. Southeast Asia in Japanese security policy. (Pacific strategic papers ; no . 31 1. Japan--Defenses . 2. Japan--National security. 3. Japan--Foreign relations--Asia, Southeastern. 4. Asia, Southeastern--Foreign relations--Japan . I. Title . II. Series. DS501 1598 no. 3 1991 sls91-11884 ISBN 981-3035-79-X ISSN 0218-1924 Typeset by Avant Garde Typesetting and Publishing Services Printed and bound in Singapore by Prime Packaging Industries Pte. Ltd .







II .

Evolution of Japan 's Security Policy


III. Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


IV. The ASEAN Factor



Japan 's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia : Divisive Issues


VI. Conclusion









The Pacific Strategic Papers are issued by the Institute's Regional Strategic Studies Programme IRSSP) , which has received support in the form of grants from several foundations . The Institute would like to take the opportunity here of especially thanking the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations for the core grant for the Programme . The author would like to acknowledge the helpful comments and criticisms of his colleagues at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (!SEAS) and two anonymous reviewers which assisted him greatly in revising his original manuscript. He would also like to express his gratitude to the Institute 's Publications Unit for their editorial assistance in processing the revised manuscript. The research for this paper was undertaken as part of the Institute's "Major Asian Powers and the Security of Southeast Asia" project, which is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of the United States. ISEAS would like to thank the MacArthur Foundation for this most welcome and timely assistance . However, the conclusions of the present study remain the responsibility of the author and his views do not necessarily reflect those of the MacArthur Foundation or ISEAS.

I. Introduction

Defence cost is, for any country, a sort of insurance premium we have to pay for the worst that may come .' Since Japan today lives in a larger bouse , naturally the insurance premium goes up . (Yasuhiro Nakasone , 30 December 19821

At the time of the above remarks , Japan had for almost four decades been confronted with lingering memories of World War II when conducting its foreign relations. Understandably , therefore , Tokyo 's politico-security relations with Southeast Asia were largely passive and inconsequential for a long time . In recent years , hewever, major developments taking place within and outside Japan have forced Tokyo to reconsider its secondary role in both the regional as well as global contexts . First , continuous Japanese trade surpluses have reached a point where they have had disastrous repercussions in the United States, which in turn could adversely affect the world economy, that is, by provoking protectionist sentiments in the United States . Second, owing to the appreciation of the Japanese yen , Japan 's defence expenditure in dollar terms has become the third largest in the world, after the United States and the Soviet Union. Japan has also become the world's largest creditor nation and donor. Consequently, Japan has been expected to play a greater international role commensurate with its economic power. Against this backdrop, the Japanese Government has initiated several notable policies in the past few years. It has enhanced Japan's political role in the international community, strengthened JapanSoutheast Asia relations, placing special emphasis on the Association


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). and made greater efforts towards forging a Pacific community. In July 1988, a Japanese defence minister visited Southeast Asia for the first time in the history of post-war Japan-Southeast Asia relations. The visit was designed to allay growing fears of a resurgence of Japan's militarism - fears resulting from Tokyo rescinding the ceiling on its defence expenditure. But a far more significant implication of the visit was the initiation of consultations on security and military affairs between Japan and the Southeast Asian nations , signalling a new chapter in the relationship (Mainichi Shimbun , 3 July 1988, p. 2). Japan is now poised to become a "political" power since the economic might that it has amassed carries with it a latent political influence (Inoki 1988, pp . 40-54) . But how is Japan going to play an expanded politico-security role without becoming a military power? It is, therefore , fitting at this critical juncture to examine Japan's emerging politico-security role in Southeast Asia, for Southeast Asia is the most immediate region where Japan can, if necessary, translate its economic power into a political one. How significant has Southeast Asia been in Japan's politico-security policies? How will Japan project its newly acquired economic power to deal with ongoing changes in Asian international politics? And, most importantly, what impact will Japan's new policy have on the region as a whole and on its security in particular? These ~d other questions will be explored in this paper .

II. Evolution of Japan's Security Policy

The impact of defeat in World War II and Japan's ensuing dependence on the United States for its defence needs have imparted a unique character to the country's security policy. The trauma of defeat has left a legacy of aversion to war and to defence buildups. The immediate result was an almost exclusive emphasis on rebuilding and strengthening the economy, a policy aided by the "free ride " that Japan was getting on American defence . But international events of the late 1970s and early 1980s have had a significant impact on Japan's security perception and are beginning to usher in a more active defence policy and a larger political profile international! y.

The Determinants of Japan's Security Policy

In analysing Japanese security policy, special attention should be given to the unique process of policy-making. An important first step is to study the influence and responsibilities of the bureaucrat and politician who operate in the process of security policy decisionmaking and how these policy-makers respond to domestic and external pressures .1 Two other important elements in the shaping of Japan's security policy that require close scrutiny are the U.S. factor and the economic factor . .

Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy


Institutional Factors

The most important factor in shaping Japan's post-war security policy is Article IX of the U.S.-imposed Japanese Constitution, which proclaims: Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international dispute. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained . The right of belligerency of the State will not be recognized .2

Although the so-called "Peace Constitution" imposes a military emasculation on Japan, it is generally accepted that Japan can exercise self-defence as a sovereign right . Nevertheless, the constitution also places other limits on Japan's defence policy: no offensive weapons , no overseas deployment of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF). no collective security arrangements , and no conscription . In view of these constraints, the mission of the SDF has been "defensive defence". Thus the Japanese Government has had to strike a balance between the right to self-defence and the "Peace Constitution" and develop its forces "according to changes in the prevailing international situation, the standards of military technology and various other conditions" (Defence Agency 1986, p. 721. "Changes in the prevailing international situation" which have had a significant impact on Japan's security policy occurred in the . late 1970s and early 1980s. The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in December 1978, the attendant Soviet naval buildup in the South China Sea, off Vietnam , as well as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 changed the configuration of forces in Asia . Japan perceived these developments as a threat to the security of Asia . This perception significantly altered the Japanese public's benign interpretation of Japan 's security needs as well as its mission of "defensive defence". Nevertheless, given the fact that its full ramifications have not been defined , Article IX of the "Peace Constitution" will probably remain a formidable factor in shaping the direction of Japan 's security policy in general , and constraining the development of military capabilities in particular. Public opinion, specifically the pacificist orientation of the general public, is another important factor in the shaping of Japan 's security policy. The collapse of the Japanese empire and the accompanying economic deprivation were a traumatic experience for a nation that

Evolution of japan 's Security Policy


had experienced dramatic victories early in the war . The dropping of atomic bombs - the first in the history of the world - added to th e sense of devastabon . The consequence of this national shock was pacifism , the so-called Japanese "nuclear allergy ·, and an anti-military orientation in Japan 's foreign relations , best exemplified by the debacle during the 1960 Security Treaty revision (Packard 1966) . Th e anti Vietnam war movement in Japan throughout the 1960s was a further manifestation of pacifism and signalled the importance of considering public inputs in governmental decisions (Havens 1987) . The changed international circumstances since the late 1970s and the early 1980s outlined above have been a stimulus for a more objective debate on a national security strategy in Japan. New con ditions are forcing the Japanese to rethink the rationale that has underscored their post-war foreign policies. The so-called "Japanese Gaullists• have gained a foothold in Japan .3 In general, public opinion moved towards the conservative end of the political spectrum and an acceptance of the status quo (Stockwin 1987, pp . 111 -34) . But while the public has adapted to the new reality , the underlying national will remains basically against any policy that would result in a greater role for the military. The Japanese public resists any move to use military force in situations other than the defence of the Japanese islands , as weU as any efforts that might weaken civilian control over the military . This basic stance is unlikely to change rapidly, as demonstrated vividly in Japanese premier Toshiki Kaifu 's failed bid in November 1990 to send Japanese forces to join the international peace-keeping forces arrayed against those of Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf. The third institutional factor is the existence of powerful (at least until the mid-1970s) opposition parties . Given the pacifist sentiments of the public , the Socialist Party and the Communist Party have tried to score political points by contesting the legality of the SDF and advocating the abolition of the Japan-U .S. Security Treaty. Their efforts in this respect have been aided by the tacit support of the progressive intellectuals (Iwanaga 1985) . The government in consequence has been stymied in its efforts to pursue a more activist security policy as the domestic political risks would be considerable . But the opposibon vote today is fragmented . Simultaneously, there bas been a decline in the conservation vote. These trends have blunted the sharpness of controversy over foreign policy orientations (Curtis 1979, pp. 21-85) . For instance, on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, where the opposition used to call for a policy of unarmed neutrality, it now has diluted its criticisms. In an attempt to regain


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

support from a public whose views are themselves changing, the opposition parties have begun to soft-pedal their hardline positions. Thus, paradoxically, despite its overall declining popularity, the ruling party's freedom of action in foreign policy has broadened. The fourth factor is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) itself, which has been in power since its inception in 1955, virtually monopolizing the policy-making process in Japan. The prominent factions in the LDP (Takeshita, Abe , Miyazawa, and Nakasone) have divergent views on defence policy: from the advocacy of the status quo by the mainstream factions to the more hawkish views of men like Nakasone, who want to make Japan a "normal" state with armed forces commensurate with its economic power (Vogel 1984). Some of the LDP 's influential members , called Boeizoku (defence tribes), have gradually begun to play a prominent role and have succeeded in appropriating larger shares of the national budget for defence . Nevertheless, it is generally conceded that the majority of the public is in the "status quo" category, and the LDP more or less tends to reflect this position. Bureaucratic initiatives are very rare in Japan 's defence policy because of its politically sensitive nature . Nevertheless, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the Finance Ministry, and the Japan Defence Agency UDA) are the key government agencies involved in the development of Japan 's defence policy. The first two actors are less important and their primary concerns are not directly related with military strategy itself. The Foreign Ministry's role is related largely to its concern with Japan 's relations with the United States and with American pressures for defence-sharing. 4 The Finance Ministry has a role in so far as it controls the national budget and tries to balance defence expenditures against other appropriations.5 This means that, as far as bureaucratic initiatives are concerned, Japan 's defence policy is largely dependent upon the JDA, which is the fifth institutional factor . The JDA and the Japanese SDF, Japan 's armed forces , were officially established on 1 July 1954 as a product of the cold war. The JDA did not have the status of a ministry but rather that of a unit under the Prime Minister 's Office. This was intended to emphasize that it was under strict civilian control. The prime minister was to have supreme command and control of the SDF, and a civilian minister of state was appointed as director-general of the JDA with responsibility over the SDF's activities . The JDA assumed a low profile until the mid-1970s because it had become the target of much of the fierce political and academic contention over the legality of the SDF. It was not until

Evolution of]apan 's Security Policy


October 1976 that the JDA undertook meaningful initiatives by formulating the National Defence Programme Outline (NDPO), or Taiko in Japanese, which has since become the guiding force of the SDF.6 Although the outline is interpreted as a dovish plan to maintain prevailing force levels, it served as a catalyst to create an environment in which the open discussion of security issues was no longer taboo. Taken together, these institutional factors suggest that Japan 's defence policy-making is strictly a civilian-managed process , and that for the Japanese, rearmament is not simply a matter of spending more money, but a delicate constitutional question strongly contested by the opposition, intellectuals, and the mass media, and having the potential of leading to a downfall of the government of the day. The Japanese Government thus has to strike a balance between what is politically safe on the domestic front and that which heeds external pressures and is in keeping with the changing international environment.

The U.S . Factor

The centrepiece of Japan's security policy is the Japan-U .S. Security Treaty, concluded in 1951 and revised in 1960. Because of the great importance attached to the American provision of the so-called "nuclear umbrella ", the security of Japan against the Soviet Union (and later, China) depended totally upon the United States, thus making Japanese security policies reactive . As one scholar put it, Japan's security policy has been seen simply as one dimension of Japanese-U.S. relations, and beyond the American alliance Japan has had no strategic policy.7 It is this peculiar symbiosis that has framed , by and large, the scope and pace of post-war Japanese defence policy revisions . The end of the Vietnam war in April1975 was a decisive event in the reshaping of the power configuration in Southeast Asia. Concomitant with the waning of American influence in Asia was the Soviet military buildup in the region. In particular, the invasion of Mghanistan symbolized the Soviet Union's willingness to exercise its military power beyond its traditional sphere of influence. The Japanese response to the Soviet invasion was crafted within the framework of "acting as a member of the West" . This involved boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and adopting sanctions similar to those imposed by the Western countries. But even as Japan was appeasing the United States by taking such a stance, economic frictions were


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

beginning to strain Japan-U.S. ties. As a result of Japan's huge trade surpluses with the United States, Washington was pressurizing the Japanese to do more for their own defence and thus lessen the U.S. burden of regional security in Asia. American complaints that the Japanese were taking a "free ride" on U.S. defence and their calls for burden-sharing were nothing new. What was new now was the intensity with which Washington was pressing the Japanese to step up their defence expenditure. In May 1981 , using the controversial word "alliance" in a joint communique, Prime Minister Suzuki took a significant step towards an accord on the defence of the Pacific by acknowledging "an appropriate division of roles between Japan and .the United States". 8 But it was during the Nakasone administration that Japan-U.S. security relations reached a new height. It is now observed that a non-quantitative limit on defence spending for the 1990s makes probable the Japanese acquisition of a defence capability that will severely hinder undetected Soviet air or sea access to the Pacific Basin (Auer 1988, p . 145) . As such , mainly due to the American factor , the Japanese Government has come to emphasize two fundamental goals in its defence policy: the qualitative improvement of defence capability and the strengthening of Japan-U.S. military co-operation - constituting a new phase in Japan 's defence policy. While Japan's role remains defensive and aims at the protection of its territory and sea lanes, it has become a much more integral part of a joint strategy with the United States. All in all, during the 1980s Japan had succumbed to U.S. pressure for doing more in the security realm although the Japanese Government has not as yet formulated its specific politico-security objectives . Given the fact that burden-sharing has become a major goal of U.S. security policy in Asia, Tokyo is likely to undertake marked improvement in these two respects in the future. Its consequences will be seen in Southeast Asia in due course because American pressure also relates to Japan having to do more not only for its own security but also for that of the region.

Economic Underpinnings of japan's Security Policy

Because of the institutional constraints and the availability of the American nuclear umbrella, the Japanese Government has emphasized the economic aspects of Japanese defence. The origin of this economicsoriented security policy can be traced back to the early 1950s when Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida negotiated post-independence security

Evolution of]apan's Security Policy


arrangements with the United States, laying down Japan's basic postwar strategy. What he opted for was limited rearmament in return for the introduction of U.S. bases in Japan. Yoshida thought that a major rearmament programme would be detrimental to the single most important goal of post-war Japan: economic recovery .9 Yoshida 's flamboyant leadership and firm belief in "economic diplomacy" resulted in his policies being later called the "Yoshida Doctrine" or "Yoshida Strategy". The doctrine attests to the importance of the economy over everything else in the nation 's priority which requires a mixture of "separation of politics from economics" . minimum defence spending, and the avoidance of involvement in international politics (Kosaka 1968; Nagai 1984, pp. 382-405). The inclination towards the economic aspects of national security has also affected the security debate within Japan , as reflected by the political realists , who are strong advocates of the Yoshida Strategy .10 The political realists are most concerned with the political and diplomatic implications of Japan 's security policy. While recognizing the Soviet threat , they emphasize the significant role played by the Japan-U .S. Security Treaty, thus rejecting the development of an autonomous defence . And while acknowledging the need for a greater contribution to international security commensurate with Japan's economic strength , they see its contribution in economic rather than military terms. For most political realists , the primary means of sharing security burdens with the United States is by achieving a qualitative improvement of Japan 's current forces, not a quantitative expansion beyond NDPO limits. By the early 1980s, the minimalist orientation of political realists was increasingly challenged by international developments which brought to the fore the military realists , who question the adequacy of Japan 's broad defence posture. The military realists could be called "strategists" who formulate their policy by assessing the military environment and then develop a strategy to meet the most likely military threat. Their primary concern, therefore, is a war scenario with a possible Soviet attack on Japan that might result from Soviet military action against Western Europe and the Middle East. To deal with the possible contingencies , the military realists emphasize a steady buildup of the Japanese armed forces within the Japan-U .S. Security Treaty. For most military realists, the force levels postulated by the NDPO are qualitatively and quantitatively inadequate, although they do not deem a Japanese nuclear force necessary. The debate between Yonosuke Nagai and Hisahiko Okazaki in the early 1980s has come to symbolize the state of Japan's security


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

thinking. Nagai questioned the existence of an objective military situation by which the military realists formulate their strategy, while Okazaki discounted "subjective" domestic factors, which are central to the strategic thinking of the political realists ("Naniga senryakuteki riarizumu ka" , 1984, pp. 46-61 ; Inagaki 1984) . Prime Minister Nakasone came to power at an opportune time because he could utilize both schools of thought in favour of his policy of "internationalizing Japan" . Until mid-1986, Nakasone undertook his defence policy like a political realist , yet his decisive victory in the 1986 double elections encouraged him to act as a military realist. However, the military realists are not dictating Japan's defence policy today as seen in the defence policies of Takeshita, Uno, and Kaifu . Despite a new element in the security debate , there is still an underlying continuity in Japan's basic approach to defence - a defence posture based upon the Japan-U .S. Security Treaty and Japanese military forces restricted to self-defence , a policy moulded by the political realists .11

The Evolution of Japanese Security Policy

Broadly speaking, the post-war development of Japanese security policy can be divided into three phases . The first phase covers about two decades between 1947 and 1969. In this period, strong public sentiments against militarism determined the tone of Japanese security postures. The decade following , the second phase , saw a quiet shift in Japanese security postme, influenced by external as well as domestic changes . The third phase, beginning in the 1980s, is marked by a major shift , with Japan embarking upon its security efforts with increasingly broad public support . In fact , beginning from the 1980s the Japanese Government has begun to play a new security role in the Asia-Pacific region . It appears that the completion of the current defence programme in 1990 has opened a new era of Japanese security policy.

The First Phase, 1947-69

The beginnings of Japan's post-war defence policy were seen in 1951 when Japan attained independence and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was concluded Y Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida (1948-54) was able to push through his "light armament" policy against the policy of

E1>0/ution o(Japan 's Secunty Polrcy


"unarmed neutrality' supported by the largest opposition party. the Japan Socialist Party USP). Despite the formidable constrai nts of the " Pea~ Constitution' and the pacifist sentiments of the public , it was accepted then that Japan could exercise its right of self-defence and be allowed to possess a minimum level of forces to do so. But pos· session of a minimum level of forces was based on the notion of "exclusive defen ce· (Senshu boei) . In short . the "Peace Constitution · and 'exclusive defence· were the underpinnings of Japan 's security posture that had predominat ed in the first phase . The "exclusive defence ' notion involved a minimalist defen ce posture . This was institutionalized . first by the adoption in May 1957 of the Basic Policy of National Defence , and then by a series of related policies : the no-arms export policy and the three non -nuclear principles. The Basic Policy upholds these four principles: (1) to support the United Nations and to realize 'intemational co-operation and world peace; (2) to stabilize the people 's livelihood and to en· hance patriotism to build the foundations for securing the nation 's safety; (3) to gradually develop an efficient defen~ force pertinent to the nation 's power and situation ; and (4) to base the joint security system with the United Stat s as a major deterrent force against possible foreign invasion until the United Nations can function to do so. " Accompanying this was Japan 's first defence buildup plan (195860). which was designed to set minimum manpower and equipment targets for the newly established SDF (see Appendix 3). In 1967 the Japanese Government adopted a ban on the export of weapons to communist countries and to countries to which arms exports were banned by the United Nations. This poli cy later in effect banned the export of weapons to all nations. including the United States . In 1971. Japan 's anti-nuclear polky based on the 'The Three Non-Nuclear Principles" - not to produce nuclear weapons. not to acquire them , and not to permit their i.n troduction into Japan - was formally incorporated in a Diet resolution .'" The Yoshida Strategy of giving primacy to economic deveJopment and undertaking only light rearmament was reinforced to a large extent by the 1960 Security Treaty revision d!bicle in which the ruling LOP was compelled to recognize the danger of the defen c~ issue becoming politicized. As the resignation of Prime Minister Kishi caused by the 'forced' revision of the Security Treaty su ested . successive prime ministers. notably Hayato lkeda (1960-64) and Bisalru Sa to (1964- 72). b d to di \'ert the minds of the highly sen.siti~ public to non-defence issues. thereby initiating an income-doublin policy and high-growth economic policy. ln short , on


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

America's preponderant power, Japan vigorously pursued its national (Yoshida) strategy without any military component. During the first phase, the United States remained a total guarantor and did not seriously consider strengthening Japanese defence capability, although in the face of growing U.S. trade deficits with Japan in the late 1960s the U.S. Congress began to signal that Tokyo was taking a "free ride" on defence .

The Second Phase, the 1970s

The Guam or Nixon Doct~ine of July 1969, which began a policy of retrenchment in Asia, ushered in a new era in the region. This , together with Nixon's dramatic visit to Beijing in 1972, was the first of several "Nixon shokus" for Japan. Nixon 's opening out to China in particular was a shock for Tokyo as it feared that China had increased in .importance at Japan's expense . Domestically, Japan was beset with the 1973 oil crisis, which heightened Japan 's sense of insecurity. These shocks resulted in Japanese defence officials' efforts towards formulating an "autonomous" defence posture. In 1976 the Japanese Government announced its "defence policy during the era of detente" in the NDPO , which was designed to define the minimum level of defence forces necessary for Japan in peacetime . As for the first military strategy, the Outline propounded the "standard defence force concept", which held that Japan should possess a peacetime force of minimum size but which was large enough to meet and repel a "limited and small-scale aggression" and that the co-operation uf the United States was to be sought should aggression exceed that level (Defence Agency 1977, pp . 143-50) . The NDPO provided general force level targets such as main units , basic categories of defence equipment , and numbers of personnel, but did not specify actual types of equipment. The Outline has concentrated on Japan 's defence against sea-borne and air-borne invasions , enhancing Japan 's ability to engage in sustained conflict, and to improving command , control, and communications and information (C 3 I) functions . The most important feature of the Outline was the introduction of the aforesaid standard defence force concept that stressed the critical need of qualitatively improving Japan 's defence capability. In order to achieve the desired level of defence forces, the Japanese Government decided to formulate defence plans for each year , taking into consideration changes in the domestic and external situations,

Evolution ofJapan's Security Policy


thus fixing no target date for completion. This shift away from fixed programmes raised the opposition's concern that there could be uncontrolled growth in defence spending. As a result , in November 1976, the Miki administration announced the adoption of the celebrated ceiling on defence spending of 1 per cent of gross national product (GNP) . The Outline stipulates Japan's strategy as follows : (1) Prevention of armed invasion : Japan's basic defence policy is to possess an adequate defence capability of its own while establishing a posture for the most effective operation of that capability to prevent aggression . Against nuclear threat , Japan will rely on the nuclear deterrent capability of the United States. (2) Countering aggression : Japan will repel limited and small-scale aggression in principle without external assistance . ln cases where the ~assisted repelling of aggression is not feasible , Japan will continue an unyielding resistance until such time as co-operation from the United States is forthcoming , thus rebuffing such aggression .

Although the NDPO represented a defence strategy during the period of detente in the 1970s, two interrelated issues that took place towards the end of the decade appeared to be a harbinger of a new phase. The first issue was the decline of American commitments in Asia after the Vietnam war and the "perceived" loss of American military superiority vis-a-vis the Soviet Union . The second was the major military shift in the Gulf region that not only demonstrated the vulnerability of the Japanese economy but also greatly influenced Japan's view of its economic security.

The Present Phase, the 1980s

Like the Nixon Doctrine in the previous phase, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 foreshadowed the advent of a new era, that is, a new period of cold war. The Japanese Government responded to the new era by formulating two security postures: the Comprehensive National Security Concept and Japan's role as "a member of the West" (Levin 1989, p. 6). Based on these two postures, Japan began to modify its defence strategy in four main areas. First, Japan broadened its defence perimeter. Second, it significantly reinforced its security co-operation with the United States. Third, it loosened the constitutional as well as existing defence constraints to allow a more active_security role . Fourth, Japan expanded its political


Southea1Jt Asia in japanese Security Policy

role in the international arena. The most important factor in the development of Japan's security policy was the forging of a quasiconsensus on the Soviet threat within the Japanese Government. Thus, Japan's security posture has begun to change from exclusive defence to a regional security role designed to deal, as a "member of the West" , with the Soviet threat. Particularly noteworthy was the May 1981 summit between Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki and U.S. President Reagan , in which Suzuki promised to undertake "greater efforts for improving its defence capabilities in Japanese territories and in its surrounding sea and air space " (Gaimusho 1982, pp. 466671. As a result, Japan's defence perimeter was extended to 1,000 nautical miles southward from Tokyo and Osaka. In other words , Japan 's military objectives were no longer targeted solely at defending Japanese territorial air and sea space, but at acting as a "member of the West " by "fighting " the Soviet Union in the western Pacific - a significant shift in Japan's fundamental defence orientation. New policies under the Nakasone administration seem to have deviated from the "Yoshida Doctrine· in its basic vision of Japan 's international role (George 1987; Nishihara 19891. In particular, Nakasone moved on five fronts to expand Japan 's international security role . First, he relaxed defence technology exports, albeit only to the United States , in November 1983 , when Japan signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States, permitting defence technology transfers. Second, Nakasone formulated a sea-lane defence strategy by setting up an offshore air defence capability. Third , he regularized more frequ ent and larger-scale joint Japan·U .S. exercises. Fourth, he promised the participation of the private sector in the U.S. Strategic Defence Initiative (SDII. And finally . Nakasone nullified the decade· old 1 per ce nt of GNP ceili ng placed on defence spending. These vigorous efforts by Nakasone have underscored the fact that an independent -mi nded prime minister can make a significant change in Japanese defence policy. Prime Minister Nakasone also made a critical decision in September 1985 when he formally approved an official plan, the Mid-Term Defence Programme (MTDPI. for the first time in thirteen years since the fourth defence programme was adopted as the government plan . The MTDP covered the period 1986-90 and revived the pre· 1976 fixed five-year formula in which both the contents of a buildup plan and the estimated total expenditures are specified in advance . The three priorities set by the MTDP are as follows : 1. efforts shall be made to improve the air defence capability of the main islands and the capability to protect sea lines of

Evolution of japan's Security Policy


communication in the waters surrounding Japan ; 2. improvement of the defence capability shall be sought to increase its quality with a proper balance between frontal equipment and logistic support elements; and 3. efforts shall be made to seek the utmost efficiency and rationalization in respect of both improvement and operation of the defence forces. 15

Compared with the NDPO's goals, the MTDP has slightly changed priorities, emphasizing Japan's sea control capability and the establishment of an air defence screen. The significance of the MTDP lay not only in the target date (1990) it set for attaining the force levels of the 1976 NDPO, but also in the force level targets. For instance, citing the 135 SS-20s based in the far eastern Soviet Union, the eighty-five Backfire bombers, the nucleararmed Soviet submarines, and a division of troops on the northern territories, the JDA called for US$80.7 billion to be spent on new equipment during the plan period . The outcome of the new five-year plan is thus not insignificant. Not only will it achieve the general force level targets of the NDPO, but it will in some areas surpass them. As one observer put it, The plan represents the first official document sanctioning a shift from a policy oriented to defence of the Japanese archipelago to an outward-looking policy oriented to deterrence of the Soviet threat. (Maeda 1986, p . 77)

In fact, the planned acquisition of major equipment, for example, an anti-submarine warfare helicopter carrier, aerial tankers, and support systems is a harbinger of Japan's forward defence posture. A new security framework has to be considered after 1990 when Japan completes what the NDPO targeted fourteen years ago. In particular, a revised strategy in what can be considered a new international order is likely to emphasize consolidation of the current defence planning, including logistics and support services. In summary, since 1980 Japanese foreign policy has moved into a new phase, emphasizing Japan-U.S. military co-operation and the buildup of Japanese defence capability. It should be stressed here that the long-lasting effect of the last war has made the Japanese leaders take an extremely low-profile posture in initiating any defence policy while pursuing a vigorous economic policy. It was only the 1980s that saw a major change in Japanese defence due to (1) the quasi-consensus on the Soviet threat and (2) a declining American presence in Asia and accompanying American pressures for burden-


Southe08t A&ia in j apanue Security Policy

sharing. It was also during the 1980s that th defence debate in Japan saw the military r aJists establishing th ir foothold in Japan .

Ill. Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia

The Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia during the war left bitter memories in the minds of most Southeast Asian leaders, which in turn coloured their perceptions of Japan. For the Japanese , defeat in the war was a devastating blow because all their efforts to implement their vision of regional order, namely, the Greater East Asian CoProsperity Sphere, were proven useless and unacceptable . How could Japan secure the freedom of action to advance into the region again when hard feelings towards it were still prevalent? The answer seems to lie in the process of mutual co-optation between Japanese and American policy-make rs who incorporated Prime Minister Yoshida's •economics above all" principles and Washington 's "super-domin o" metaphor , bridging the two with the concept of "Japan-U .S. economic co-operation •. During the 1950s and early 1960s, "economic diplomacy•, largely propounded by Prime Minister Yoshida and officially promulgated in 1957, constituted the core of Japan's policy towards Southeast Asia. As the first White Paper on Japanese Diplomacy of 1957 cogently put it: For our country which adopted pacifism as its basic policy the only way to raise the living standards of the 90 million people living on the four small islands, and to develop our economy is peaceful expansion of our economic power. (Gaimusho 1957, p . 9)

Economic diplomacy thus became the modus vivendi of Japanese foreign policy.


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Consequently, a triangular relationship among Japan, the United States, and Southeast Asia came into existence and became integral to American objectives in Asia (Department of State 1985, p. 1290). The triangular relationship was indispensable for Japan's plan to replace the so-called "China market" . Thus, the motivation behind this co-optation was unequivocally political, yet the Japanese took it as the best opportunity to foster their own economic rehabilitation, which required U.S. capital and Southeast Asian raw materials. In December 1953 the Yoshida government announced its basic policy of "economic aid " to Southeast Asia in a Cabinet decision that stressed Japan's active role in the region .' 6 This announcement was the beginning of Japan 's 'post-war relations with Southeast Asia. In 1957 Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi paid the first high-level official visit to the Southeast Asian countries. Subsequently, utmost efforts were devoted to achieving "economic" foreign policy, directed particularly towards the countries of Southeast Asia , whose demand for Japanese goods was high , but whose economies were impoverished . If the above discussion leads to the conclusion that Japan had no political interest in Asia from the 1950s through the mid-1970s , then it could be misleading simply because Japan 's cautious low-posture policy towards Southeast Asia was implicitly "designed " to achieve Japan 's political objectives in the region . As Yoshida himself explained in November 1954: The most immediate challenge to the free countries today is the problem of combating Communism . .. . In order to defend against Communism , it is urge nt to promote the economic development of Soutl:ieast Asia and to reinforce their standard of living. (Yoshida 1958, vol. TV , pp . 264- 651

As such , political stability in the region was apparently taken into account in Japan 's policy which revolved around economic considerations . The reparations question became the catalyst for Japan 's economic intrusion into the region . Through it Japan 's first coherent policy towards Southeast Asia emerged . Settlement of the war reparations question was crucial to restore diplomatic relations with the countries of Southeast Asia. By 1964 Japan's trade with the region surpassed that of the United States, thus making her a leading economic actor. Yet , Japanese foreign policy still remained low-profile , most of its policies being regarded as contributing to trade promotion in the pursuit of its prosperity goal. 17

Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


By the middle of the 1960s, an economically developed Japan was facing increasing pressures from the Western countries and developing countries alike for playing a greater international role commensurate with its economic status. At the same time , American policy towards Southeast Asia entered a new stage , playing the predominant role in protecting South Vietnam against communist expansion . Th e Japanese Government , endorsing President Johnson 's plan for Southeast Asian development in 1965, came to share America 's economic burdens as •a member of the Western alliance ", by pouring large amounts of capital into and initiating regional development plans for the region . Thus, beginning in late 1964 and early 1965, Japan's Southeast Asian policy entered a new phase , as exemplified by active Japanese efforts to reinvigorate regional co-operation through the establishment of the Asian Development Bank, the Asia-Pacific Council , and the Ministerial Conference for the Economic Development of Southeast Asia. As such, the low-profile "economic' diplomacy was changed into an "induced' active one although the underlying economic rationale remained intact. What followed was that the Japanese Government put more emphasis on peace and political stability through the economic development of developing Asian countries. Foreign Minister Takeo Miki's •Asia-Pacific diplomacy ' was a case in point. As a corollary , Japanese foreign policy in the region more clearly reflected Washington's Southeast Asian policy. Thus , commenting on Prime Minister Sato's visit to the region in 1967, an American official noted : An especially satisfying aspect of Mr . Sato 's trips has been to align Japan more firmly on the side of Washington in Vietnam and against Communist designs generally in the developing states of Southeast Asia . (New York Times . 29 October 1967, p . 201

This induced activism in Japanese foreign policy continued until the American defeat in Vietnam. During the Vietnam war period, Japan had the good fortune to be able to penetrate the area "peacefully" while the Southeast Asian countries were preoccupied with the cold war confrontation. Although Japan's position as the predominant trader and a major investor in the region was a by-product of the nation 's growth into a major international economic power, the manner in which Japan achieved its pre-eminent position caused resentment in Southeast Asia. Japan was unflatteringly labelled •an economic animal ". Perhaps. more importantly, Japan never initiated any "political" instrument of foreign policy to defuse the repercussions of aggressive economic activities.


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

When Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka visited Southeast Asia in 1974, therefore , unprecedented anti -Japanese demonstrations took place throughout most of the region . In Malaysia, Tanaka 's effigy was burnt along with Japanese flags . In Singapore , students submitted a memorandum deploring Japanese business practices. Most of all , the anti-Japanese movement was turned into violent riots in Bangkok and Jakarta. Since Indonesia was the last stop in Tanaka's tour as well as Japan 's most important trading partner in the region , the antiJapanese riots gave the Tanaka tour a particularly negative image both within and outside Japan . Although these anti-Japanese incidents were partially induced by various domestic factors operating within each host country, Tokyo was compelled to review its Southeast Asian policy just two decades after re-entering the region 's economic scene. With the end of the Vietnam war, gone was the cold war environment which had nurtured Japan 's policy of pursuing economic gain independent of political consideration . The end of the Vietnam war in Aprill975 and the ASEAN summit conference of February 1976 in Bali had a profound impact on Japanese foreign policy. In the wake of an American withdrawal from the region , Japan took up the challenge of giving concrete support to efforts at regional co-operation and displayed its willingness to take on international responsibilities. In one official's view, It was only in 1977, when Prime Minister Fukuda visited the ASEAN countries that Japan expressed the political dimension in its forei gn policy inter~st in general and in policy toward Southeast Asia in particular by committing itself not to be a skeptical bystander to ASEAN . !Watanabe 1988, p. 271)

In many respects , therefore , since the declaration of the Fukuda Doctrine , Japan - Southeast Asia relations have entered a new phase . Ever since the Japanese Government proclaimed its determination to "forge a closer relationship with ASEAN" in 1977, all Japanese prime ministers (except Uno, whose administration lasted only three months) have visited the ASEAN region in whole or in part. Masayoshi Ohira, who visited the Philippines in May 1979, announced in Manila his administration 's policy towards the region . In January 1981, Zenko Suzuki visited the then five ASEAN countries and stressed Japan 's political role in the region by applying his "comprehensive security " notions to Southeast Asia. Unlike his predecessors, Suzuki emphasized the linkage of politics and economics as a means of protecting the peace. 18 Only two years later, Yasuhiro Nakasone visited the ASEAN countries and his administration 's • ASEAN policy• was

japanese Policy towards Southeast A sia


spelt out at the end of the tour . Known as a hawkish leader , Nakasone defended his security policy as being purely defensive in nature . After attending the Third ASEAN Summit in December 1987, Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita again paid a visit to the region in May 1989. In a nutshell , the prime ministers ' visits to the region yielded a series of Japanese commitments to ASEAN , perhaps because none of them wanted to leave the impression that they had ' reduced · the importance of ASEAN by not making additional promises . Th e US$2 billion package offered by Takeshita , in contrast to Fukuda 's offer of US$1 billion in assistan ce, is a case in point (Sudo 1988 , pp . 119-43 ). Therefore , the post- Vietnam war period has been characteri zed by Japan 's cultivation of positive relations with Southeast Asia in general and ASEAN in particular. The Japanese Government has also attempted to use its limited influen ce in effecting a political settlement of the Cambodian conflict . With the Pacific region growin g in im portance , Japan -ASEAN linkages can be a model of co-operati on should Japan take bold policies in reinforcing the relationship . All in all , the importance of ASEAN in Japan ese foreign policy has been increasingly acknowledged by Japanese policy-makers , including some LDP members as well as defence officials.

Political Dimension During the 1960s and early 1970s , there were at least two political initiatives that the Japanese Government vigorously undertook. The first attempt came in 1964 when Prime Minister Ikeda offered to mediate in the conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia as well as in the Philippine territorial claim over Sabah. In June 1964 , a summit meeting of Indonesian President Soekarno, Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman , and Philippine President Macapagal was convened in Tokyo but it failed to produce any tangible results (Gaimusho 1969 , vol. II , p . 1094) . This was , nevertheless , the first political role in South east Asia undertaken by the Japan ese Government since World War II. Another attempt , which was made in 1970 during the Sa to Cabinet , concerned Japan 's active participation in resolving the Indochina conflict. In May 1970 , having become one of the three mediating countries with Indonesia and Malaysia , Japan played a leading role in securing the "neutrality" of an Asian conference on Cambodia held in Jakarta (Asahi Shim bun , 18 May 1970 , pp . 2, 3). In the light of post-war relations , however , these two political attempts were exceptional and unrepresentative cases . None the less ,

Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy


these episodes do suggest that Japan had political objectives in the region , but it played down its efforts and avoided a more direct political role until the third period of Japan-Southeast Asia relations.

The Fukuda Doctrine

The promulgation of the Fukuda Doctrine on 18 August 1977 marked the beginning of Japan 's political relations with the Southeast Asian countries . The third principle of the doctrine stipulates that Japan will be an equal partner of ASEAN and its member countries, and co-operate positively with them in their efforts to strengthen their solidarity and resilience , together with other nations of like mind outside the region, while aiming at fostering a relationship based on mutual understanding with the nations of Indochina, and will thus contribute to the building of peace and prosperity throughout Southeast Asia. (Gaimusho 1978, p . 330)

As such, Japanese policy towards the region has come to focus on its political co-ordination with ASEAN. It is in this additional aspect that the third period could be contrasted with the preceding two periods. Japan 's political relations with ASEAN have been characterized by the official visits of prime ministers and the regular meetings of foreign ministers , as welJ as the Japan-ASEAN forum , all of which constitute Japan 's "Support ASEAN" policy. In particular, the almost de rigueur visits to the ASEAN region by Japanese prime ministers seem to contain a special implication. To the Japanese , close diplomatic relations with the organization served to strengthen Japan 's position in talks with the Western countries, as recognized by Suzuki and Nakasone . Among the ruling party's politicians it was felt that the ASEAN visits unfailingly sharpened their diplomatic skills. Consequently, some Japanese politicians have already designated the region as Japan's "political constituency". Visiting the ASEAN region, Masayuki Fujio, the chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, stated in 1985: Japan has to further strengthen solidarity with Asian countries . Otherwise , we could not have a promising prospect for the 21st century . Japan has to grasp a clear sense of its geopolitical relations with ASEAN. Southeast Asia is , so to speak, a ' yard ' or "franchise' for Japan . ("Interview with Masayuki Fujio', 1985, p. 3)

japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


The most important aspect of Japan's political role can be seen in Japan's effort to moderate Vietnam 's foreign policy towards ASEAN . Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda , for instance, employed two major tactics to achieve this. First of all, he urged the Vietnamese leaders to use Japanese aid to purchase commodities from the ASEAN countries as a way of building bridges between the two . The aid was not tied to imports from ASEAN ; but Sonoda believed the aid could help forge better economic relations between the two opposing blocs (Sonoda 1983, pp. 137-200). The Japanese Government also attempted, on at least two occasions , to discontinue its aid to Hanoi in order to pressurize the latter to change its behaviour towards its neighbouring countries. Although Japan's attempt to use its aid to Hanoi for political ends ultimately failed in 1980 , these attempts significantly underscore Japan 's pursuit of an active political goal in the region . Japan 's policy towards Hanoi has been co-ordinated with the ASEAN countries through the Japan - ASE~ Foreign Ministers ' Conference , which was institutionalized as the political forum between Japan and ASEAN in 1978. Since the discontinuation of Japan 's aid to Hanoi, Tokyo has been following ASEAN 's dictate in resolving the Cambodian conflict while maintaining its dialogue with Vietnam . It was only in 1984 that the Japanese Government spelt out rather vigorously its three principles in resolving the conflict: (1) Japan will bear the expenses for peace-keeping activities; (2) Japan will provide personnel and facilities for an election to be held under international supervision; and (3) Japan will provide economic assistance to the three indochinese countries following the realization of peace in Cambodia (Abe 1984, p. 138) . These offers would be fulfilled step-bystep in accordance with the three stages of conflict resolution : first , when the partial withdrawal of Vietnamese troops and other peacekeeping measures have all been realized; second, when the Vietnamese forces have been completely withdrawn ; and third , when a comprehensive political solution has been achieved in Cambodia . These three principles were maintained at the Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Conference in July 1989 (Gaimusho 1989, p. 146) . One of the tangible results of the Ministerial Conference has been the close collaboration over the annual vote for seating the Government of Democratic Kampuchea at the U.N . General Assembly. Soon after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, the ASEAN countries took pains in passing resolutions calling for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces at the U.N. General Assembly and at other international forums. At the first U.N. vote on 21 September 1979,


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Democratic Kampuchea won seventy-one votes (thirty-five against and thirty-four a15stentions) and thus was permitted to represent Cambodia due to the ASEAN diplomatic campaign. Immediately after the U .N. vote , ASEAN sponsored its joint resolution calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Cambodia. Joining the chorus of denunciation of Vietnam, Japan strongly supported the ASEAN resolution, which was approved on 14 November 1979 with a decisive vote of 91 to 21. This pattern had been observed until late 1989, gaining more support for Democratic Kampuchea (the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea since 1982) as well as the withdrawal of the Vietnamese forces. 19 The Japan-ASEAN forum is the third political venue set up to (1) formulate decisions on the areas of co-operation between Japan and ASEAN; (2) review and monitor the progress of co-operation between the two ; and (3) recommend measures that will achieve the objective of expanding co-operation. However, the format of the forum has changed somewhat from the original one and come to focus on how much Japan can assist in the economic development of the ASEAN countries. Thus , throughout the meetings (the latest one was held in October 1989) the same pattern has been observed,1with ASEAN asking Japan to open up its market and to be more generous in transferring foreign aid and technology (Business Times (Singapore), 4 October 1989, p . 4; Kokusai kyoryoku tokubetsujoho, 1 November 1989, pp . 33-36) . In spite of Japan 's slow response to ASEAN requests, Japan's role as an economic stabilizer in the region has been a major stimulus for the remarkable economic performance of the ASEAN countries. Besides these institutionalized political networks, Japan has also attempted to play the role of mediator in the region . Two major examples are worth mentioning here: ASEAN-China relations and Indonesia-China normalization. In 1981 former Prime Minister Suzuki made it clear that softening China's backing of the Khmer Rouge was crucial in resolving the Indochinese conflict , a view that was shared by the ASEAN countries. In August 1988 former Prime Minister Takeshita conveyed to the Chinese leaders Japan's position of "preventing the Pol Pot faction from sharing power again" (Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 15 August 1988, p. 2). The diplomatic normalization between Indonesia and China had been a goal for Japanese prime ministers for a long time . Nakasone, for instance, tried to lure the Chinese leaders towards normalization in 1986. Thus , the decision to normalize diplomatic relations between the two in Tokyo in February 1989 was more than welcomed by the Japanese leaders (Asahi Shimbun , 24

Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


February 1989, p. 1; Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 24 February 1989, p. 7) . Another important area of Japan's political role in the region concerns its policy of acting as a middleman on behalf of ASEAN interests. In 1978, for instance , International Trade and Industry Minister Komoto visited the ASEAN countries to discuss major economic issues for the forthcoming Bonn summit of the advanced countries (later called the Group of Seven, G-7) in July. Mter the summit, External Economic Mfairs Minister Ushiba was sent to the region to explain the results and achievements of the summit. In 1979, a special governmental envoy, Yasukawa, paid a visit again to include ASEAN demands and interests in the agenda for the Tokyo summit in June . Moreover, soon after Prime Minister Ohira's visit to China, the Foreign Ministry's Councillor, Katori , was sent to the region in December 1979 to explain major developments in JapanChina relations and their impact on Japan-ASEAN relations.20 This last attempt was regarded by the Japanese Government as "an intended gesture" to ensure that its economic assistance to Beijing would not be seen as being inimical to ASEAN interests. In a similar vein , Tokyo makes it a rule to consult ASEAN leaders whenever Japan attended major conferences with the Western countries . Therefore, under the name of "Support for ASEAN", Japan's political role has been deliberately expanded although its effects on the region seem to have been limited. There has also been a growing importance of ASEAN in Japanese foreign policy during the third period, as exemplified by several policies initiated by the ruling LDP and the Foreign Ministry. The next step was to convene a Japan-initiated meeting to resolve the Cambodian conflict, which was materialized in the Tokyo Meeting of June 1990. Although the four-faction meeting could not reach any meaningful agreement, the Tokyo meeting was hailed by the Japanese as the first major diplomatic effort to directly get involved in the process of settling regional conflicts.

The Military Dimension During the Vietnam war period, Japan's defence policy remained subject to the dictates of the United States although its military capability was steadily improving through four defence buildup plans between 1957 and 1976. In particular, the Japanese Government tacitly supported American efforts while reinforcing its economic assistance to the non-communist countries in the region. The JapanU.S. Security Treaty allowed Washington to use bases in Japan as


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

primary staging areas for ground and air opera~ons in Indochina. After the 1969 Nixon Doctrine the ruling LOP stressed Japan's •autonomous defence posture· in order to expedite the negotiations for the return of Okinawa. In October 1970, furthermore , the JDA published the first Defence White Paper, which emphasized, inter alia, the concept of "exclusively defensive posture" and the possibility of internal problems that might invite intervention from an external power. When the then Director-General of the JDA, Yasuhiro Nakasone, disclosed his intention of more than doubling the defence cost for the fourth buildup plan, however , vehement objections were voiced by the public and the opposition parties as well as factions within the ruling party. Prime Minister Sato supported Nakasone 's vigorous efforts only until the return of Okinawa was virtually resolved between Tokyo and Washington Y In short, domestic factors worked against the issue of Japan's growing defence role in the face of the gradual withdrawal of American forces from Southeast Asia. Japan 's stand on military issues then was unequivocal: no direct military role overseas. As former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda officially proclaimed in his 1977 doctrine: Japan , a nation committed to peace, rejects the role of a military power , and on that basis is resolved to contribute to the peace and prosperity of Southeast Asia, and of the world community.

Judging from the constitutional constraints on the possession of offensive weapons, the prohibition of weapons exports, the deployment of Japanese forces abroad, and Japan's involvement in collective security arrangements, Japan 's direct military role in the region appears to be out of the question for the foreseeable future . However, a careful observation of the low-profile defence policy will lead to an expectation of a more positive security role in Southeast Asia because what Japan has been even modestly attempting in the context of its own security policy could constitute a viable Japanese contribution to the security of the region . Two interrelated issues are worth reemphasizing here: Japan 's own defence efforts and the nascent defence co-operation between Japan and the ASEAN countries . To begin with, by strengthening its own defence capability, Japan has been a key security factor in the Asia-Pacific region .22 There are two aspects in this connection: Japan's own defence buildup and its security collaboration with the United States, both of which have been a key factor in compensating for the slack caused by the reduction of American forces and commitments in the region . The first aspect of Japan 's own defence effort has been remarkable

japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


particularly since the late 1970s. Although it was largely due to U.S. pressure, the Japanese Government took several landmark initiatives in strengthening Japan's defence capability. The first was the government's adoption of the NDPO in 1976. It was significant that the Outline defined the role that the Japanese SDF should play and provided detailed guidelines for developing an appropriate force structure. 23 It was not , therefore , inadvertent that a rather hawkish LDP leader could proclaim Japan's first doctrine in 1977 without any domestic opposition . It should also be noted here that former Prime Minister Fukuda had successfully included the defence issue in the nation's agenda , something which had been a taboo in the past , by announcing in his policy speech that defence questions would be put to wide-ranging and constructive debate (Mainichi Shimbun , 22 January 1978, p . 1) . That the opposition and the media did not make it a political issue amounted to a turning point in Japan 's defence policy. The second initiative was the decision in.. 1981 to defend sea lanes up to 1,000 nautical miles off Japan , a move prompted by the strengthened Soviet military power in the Far East. In 1979, for instance , the Soviet navy in the Far East was beefed up by a number of additions, including the vertical/short take-off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft carrier Minsk and the amphibious assault ship Ivan Rogov. Soviet vessels also began calling regularly at Vietnamese ports. Further, there was a marked buildup of ground troops on the Japaneseclaimed islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu . In 1980 the Soviet Union was for the first time officially identified as a "threat to the security of Japan" (Defence Agency 1980, p. 49). It also was mainly because of the Soviet factor that former Prime Minister Suzuki added the socalled "defence clause" in the joint communique announced at the end of the Suzuki-Reagan talks in May 1981. The communique in part stated: Japan, on its own initiative and in accordance with its constitution and basic defence policy , will seek to make even greater efforts for improving its defence capabilities in Japanese territories and in its surrounding sea and air space , and for further alleviating the financial burden of US forces in Japan .24

Another aspect of Japan's contribution to the security of Southeast Asia is that upgraded Japan-U .S. security co-operation has played a major role in maintaining a balance in the region . An important milestone in this respect was the conclusion of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defence Co-operation in November 1978. These specified three areas of future co-operation: (1) action when an armed attack is


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

imminent; (2) action when an armed attack has taken place; and (3) in dealing with changes in the Far East (Boeicho 1981, pp. 287-92). As a result, joint military exercises have been increased dramatically (see Table 1). In 1980, furthermore, Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) participated for the first time in exercises code-named RIMPAC, regularly conducted by the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Since March 1983, both Japan and the United States have been working jointly on their operational co-operation in defending Japan's sea lanes. These developments have elevated JapanU.S. relations into an "alliance", making it a formidable shield against the Soviet Union. How strong are the Japanese SDF today? With the steady increase in Japan's defence budget (see Appendix 2). the current strength of the SDF has been markedly improved. Reflecting the changed mood of the public as well as the vigorous leadership of former Prime Minister Nakasone, the current 1986-90 defence buildup plan is likely to accomplish the capability level laid down in the 1976 Outline. 25 With the expected 1990 figures of sixty destroyers, one hundred P-3Cs, and 200 F-15 Eagles, Richard Armitage, former Assistant Secretary of Defence, concluded:

TABLE 1 Japan · U.S . Joint Exercises , 1975-89 Year


1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

2 4 3 3 2 3 5 5 4 8 7 6 6 7 8



3 11 10

11 10 12 10 12 15 13 14 10

3 4 3 3 6 7 7 7 7

SouRCE: Boeicho, Boei hakusho (various issues).


2 4 3 6 13 13 19 19 19 21 25 28 26 28 25

japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


Thus Japan will meet its basic defence goals by 1990, as promised. In its defence plan for 1991 to 1995, Japan will likely obtain a more comprehensive capability by acquiring an over-the-horizon radar system, long-range early-warning aircraft and tanker aircraft. These systems will make undetected Soviet aircraft or shipping access to the Pacific or to Japanese territory across the Sea of Japan severely complicated , if not impossible. (Armitage 1988, p. 31)

The second area of Japan 's indirect security role concerns a "partnership" in Southeast Asian military strategy. There are three dimensions to this: (1) Japan 's aid as a stabilizing factor ; (2) growing contacts among military officials; and (3) exchange of technical information at the top level. To begin with , since the inception of the so-called "comprehensive security concept" in 1980, Japan's aid has been stressed as constituting the hub of Japan 's foreign policy as a whole . A new form of aid , termed "strategic aid", has been introduced to buttress the security of nations engulfed in a regional conflict. This was amply demonstrated by Japan's assistance to Thailand (see Table 2) and has become increasingly evident in the case of the Philippines' Multilateral Aid Initiative (MAIL which is deemed as "a mechanism of financial support for Asian-Pacific security shared by American allies •.26 Another aspect of the Japan-Southeast Asia security partnership is

TABLE 2 The Top Recipients of Japan's ODA Total Share, 1970-79

Total Share, 1980-87



Indonesia South Korea Philippines Bangladesh Burma Thailand India Egypt Pakistan Malaysia


19.2 10.9 7.8 6.0 5.8 5.6 5.0 4.6 4.4 3.7

China (PRC) Indonesia Thailand Philippines Bangladesh Burma Malaysia Pakistan India Sri Lanka


11.2 10.3 8.1 7.8 6.5 5.0 4.3 3.6 3.4 2.7

SOURCE:- Gaimusho, Waga gaiko no kinkyo (various issues) .

Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy


co-operation in the joint training of Southeast Asian military officials in Japan. Needless to say, the joint training programme provides foreign defence personnel with an opportunity to live and work in Japan and to gain an understanding of Japanese society as well as defence policy. It was reported that in 1980 out of a total of fiftythree foreign trainees the Defence Agency received, thirty-three were from Thailand, sixteen from Singapore, and one from Indonesia (Defence Agency 1980, p. 310) . Table 3 summarizes the extent of their co-operation between 1975 and 1985 and some positive effects are beginning to be felt. 27 Of the 128 foreigners who attended military schools in Japan between 1975 and 1985, 108 came from Thailand and Singapore. The third aspect is concerned with interactions with top-level officials between the Japanese defence establishment and its ASEAN TABLE 3 Records of Foreign Trainees , 1975-85 Name of School


Singapore Others • Total

GSDF Officers' School Officer Candidates ' School Fuji School Facilities School

3 1 0 0

14 2

3 0 2 0

7 15 4

MSDF Officers' School Officer Candidates ' School 1st Technical School 2nd Technical School

3 7 7 6

2 1 0 0

6 0 0 0


ASDF Officer Candidates' School





0 30

2 17

9 0 0

11 47 2





Auxiliary Organs National Institute for Defence Studies National Defence Academy Physical Training School Total

8 7 6

• Includes the United States, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and West Germany. SouRCE: Defence Agency, Defense of]apan 1985 (p . 312).

Japanese Policy towards Southeast Asia


counterpart. These began modestly in the late 1970s. In late 1978, Japanese Army Chief of Staff, Shigeto Nagano, visited the ASEAN countries for an exchange of ideas. During the visit , ASEAN defence leaders said that they viewed Japan as having the potential of becoming a strong stabilizing force vis-a-vis China and the Soviet Union in northeast Asia, and called upon Japan to build up its military capability for this purpose (Japan Times, 15 December 1978). However, it was not until 1988 that Japan's top defence official visited the region . Making the first visit to Southeast Asia since World War II by a Japanese defence minister, the Director-General of the JDA, Tsutomu Kawara, met with Indonesian and Singaporean leaders . Following Kawara's successful visit , another Defence Minister, Yozo Ishikawa, visited the region in May 1990, which resulted in further strengthening security consultations between Tokyo and the ASEAN countries.

IV. The ASEAN Factor

Against the historical background delineated in the previous chapter, the ASEAN factor will be assessed by looking into specific cases in which the ASEAN countries exerted some influence on the process of Japanese defence policy-making. ln the long span of Japan-ASEAN relations , there appear to be four major issues: Ill comprehensive national security; 12) sea-lane defence; 13) regional security planning; and 14) the Philippine problem: aid and bases. This chapter examines the strength and weaknesses of the ASEAN factor after a brief review of these four issues .

Comprehensive National Security The 1973 oil crisis triggered discussions on economic security in Japan as an antithesis to the so-called seikei bunri !•separation of politics from economics· ). In July 1974, the Ministry of lntemational Trade and Industry IMITI) reacted by compiling a report on the concept of economic security and the measures to implement it. Subsequently, the term · economic security• appeared for the first time in MITI 's annual White Paper, in which economic security was defined as primarily aimed at securing steady supplies of resources . 28 Furthermore, the dramatic events of the late 1970s had highlighted the need for a set of underlying guiding principles which could be widely accepted as a basis for policy planning within the Japanese Government. This was , in short, the advent of comprehensive national security.

The ASEAN Factor


In July 1980 the Study Group on Comprehensive National Security, appointed by the late Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, submitted its report to the government. The report recommended (1) increasing military co-operation with the United States; (2) strengthening Japan's defence capability; (3) persuading the Soviet Union that Japan is neither weak nor threatening; (4) providing greater energy security; (5) ensuring greater food security; and (6) improving crisis management of large-scale national disasters such as earthquakes. It also urged the establishment of an effective Comprehensive National Security Council to replace the limited National Defence Council.29 The adoption of the economic security concept, a masterpiece of the political realists, was a high point in the evolution of Japan's security policy. In the same year, the Foreign Ministry's Security Policy Planning Committee released a report emphasizing the importance of diplomacy as a means of ensuring national security, thus leading to the adoption of the concept. 30 At the same time, the Defence Agency in its White Paper on Defence pointed out for the first time the deficiencies in the prevailing Japanese defence structure and called for greater defence efforts. "Comprehensive security" called for Japan to use a blend of economic, political, and military tools to maintain its security. In particular, the concept specified that Japanese economic assistance to key countries in strategically important areas, such as Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and Thailand be regarded as a contribution to the shared security interests of Japan and the United States. Referring to the Korean peninsula and Southeast Asia, the report maintained: Should a war break out in the Korean Peninsula or should the Indochinese fighting greatly intensify the tension over the entire Southeast Asian region, Japan cannot remain unaffected . Accordingly, it must be Japan's responsibility to perform a political role for the stabilization of these areas. (Nagatorni 1988, p . 236)

An active political role was thought to compensate for Japan's inability to play a wider military role, as the concept believed in the dawn of "a new era of peace maintained by shared responsibilities" because of the fact that "U.S. military power is no longer able to provide its allies and friends with nearly full security". Nakasone also formulated his defence policy based on the same concept. Headed by Masataka Kosaka of Kyoto University, Nakasone's advisory group, called the "Peace Problem Study Group", submitted its report to the government in December 1984. The report can be contrasted with that of Ohira's study group in two ways. First, the


Southeast Asia in Japan~e Security Policy

report emphasized the reappraisal of the 1976 Defence Outline , regarding it as obsolete. Second , it advocated the removal of the 1 per cent of GNP ceiling on the defence budget so that Japan could "play a greater defence role" _31 The recommendation that the 1 per cent ceiling be rescinded was finally accepted after the Nakasone government's landslide victory in the 1986 "double " election, which strengthened Nakasone's ability to pursue the goals laid down by the report . Although Nakasone 's military-oriented policy gave rise to some negative response from the public , it established the main contours of comprehensive security which underlie Japan 's defence policy. To be sure, the concept of comprehensive security is not problemfree in guiding Japan 's security policy. Most of all , the Defence Agency has never been favourably disposed towards its diplomacyoriented posture, fearing that this would dilute the importance of building up the military. More importantly, it has never been clear where the levers of control that will integrate the policy of comprehensive security lie. Despite these limitations, the concept has had a significant impact on the allocation of the national budget for national defence and foreign assistance. As the national budget outlays between 1982 and 1989 indicate , the concept has gained wide public support and thereby has helped the Japanese Government to increase both its foreign assistance and its defence budget at a substantially higher rate than the growth of the overall national budget in spite of vehement objections from the powerful Finance Ministry !see Appendix 1) . Furthermore , Japan 's Foreign Ministry increasingly employs the concept as a means of executing its strategic aid . Since the inception of the concept of "comprehensive national security" , foreign aid policy has emerged as a catchword of Japanese diplomacy. In the early 1980s, therefore , Tokyo employed an active policy of extending, or denying, economic aid for political and securityrelated purposes to nations deemed important to international as well as Japanese security, as exemplified by its dramatic increase of aid to Turkey lin 1980- 81). Pakistan lin 1980-83). and Thailand !throughout the early 1980s). and by its denial of aid to Vietnam in 1980. However, the first stage of Japan's strategic aid did not have a clear impression on overall Japanese foreign policy due to conceptual uncertainties , as well as domestic opposition. 32 Acknowledging the limitations of strategic aid, or the "politicization of aid", and together with the added element of the appreciation of the yen since the Plaza Accord of 1985, the Japanes.e Government

The ASEAN Factor


has worked on a much-publicized plan to recycle huge trade surpluses into debt-ridden developing countries, later dubbed "Japan 's Marshall plan". Like Saburo Okita's proposal for an international fund using 0.1 per cent of Japan's GNP (Far Eastern Economic Review , 17 July 1986, p. 59). the Japanese Government has announced its intention to recycle US$30 billion of aid to developing countries . However vigorous it may sound , a Japanese "Marshall plan" is a far cry from the American Marshall plan, which amounted to about US$200 billion at current values . The most serious obstacle lies in the fact that Japan 's massive trade surplus has been accumulated largely by the private sector, which has not been amenable to the idea of an assistance scheme of such proportions. Even the US$30 billion plan has stumbled on some serious obstacles Y The ruling LDP has renewed its effort to ingrain strategic goals into Japan 's foreign aid during the Takeshlta administration , given the likelihood of Japan overtaking the United States as the largest donor. As a senior LDP member cogently put it : Now that Japan 's development aid is becoming second to none, we should take advantage of it for our diplomacy and national interests in peaceful ways . Japan 's aid policy should be more strategic .""'

Since Takeshita took office in November 1987, he had promised US$2 billion in loans to ASEAN , 810 billion yen to China, and a loan package to the Philippines . Furthermore, Takeshita also pledged at the Toronto summit in June 1988 that Japan would double its official development assistance (ODA) from US$25 billion in 1983-87 to US$50 billion in the next five years. Seen in this light, the so-called "mini-Marshall plan" for the Philippines seems to contain some important implications in terms of Japan 's strategic aid since, according to then U.S. Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, Japan's aid to the Philippines involves a "security consideration" (Wall Street journal , 10 June 1988, p . 20.) As will be examined later, the way the United States and Japan handled the issue could have set a precedent for Japan's burden-sharing of American military involvement in Southeast Asia. With the secured financial backing, the Foreign Ministry has come up with some innovative political policies towards the region . To begin with, as part of strategic aid, Japan declared for the first time its commitment to preserving the political stability of the Pacific island region by providing as much economic assistance as possible to make the region secure and independent of external interference.


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Intended or otherwise , Japan 's economic aid could be an important means of "resisting Soviet advance in the island states of the South Pacific" jKuranari 1988, pp. 65-68; Far Eastern Economic Review , 2 October 1986, pp. 27-28) . Second, the Foreign Ministry announced its readiness to send civilian personnel to ensure peace in Cambodia after a political settlement is reached. Without doubt, the decision to send even civilian personnel to conflict areas , in itself unprecedented in Japanese foreign relations , will pave the way for a greater political role. Third, a reappraisal of the policy of sending defence officials abroad was attempted as part of international emergency assistance operations. This is a difficult task because the Japanese Government would have to change the status of defence officials or revise the SelfDefence Forces Law.

Sea-lane Defence

There are two aspects of Japan's interest in the defence of sea lanes: economic security in terms of safe navigation for commercial ships and the politico-security dimensions of the sea lanes surrounding Japan . The former was Japan 's main concern before the 1980s. As the lifeline of the Japanese economy, the Straits of Malacca served as a "symbolic" security link between Japan and the region. It was symbolic because no Japanese believed in defending the straits by the use of force. 35 Nevertheless, with the establishment of the Malacca Straits Council in July 1968, Japan has been involved in initiating hydrographic surveys and providing navigational aids and funds for safety measures. Apparently fearful of disrupting the waterway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the Japanese Government proposed in 1972 that the straits be internationalized, a proposal that met with strong opposition from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. In February 1977 the diplomatic wrangle came to an end with Japan complying with the so-called "Traffic Separation Scheme" proposed by the three littoral states. Japan has obviously learnt a lesson , and bestowed a de facto recognition of the special status of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore with regard to the Malacca Straits jVertzberger 1984, p. 77) . The second aspect of Japan 's sea-lane defence emerged gradually after the Nixon Doctrine of reducing American military commitments in Asia and the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which demonstrated Japan's vulnerability to the interception of oil supplies from the Persian Gulf. In particular, Japan 's concern has heightened as a result of the

The ASEAN Factor


growing Soviet Pacific fleet in Southeast Asia where the Soviet Union acquired its military facilities at Cam Ranh Bay in 1978. Despite these developments concerning Japan's maritime safety, however, the response from Japan's MSDF remained limited until 1981. The MSDF's mission was restricted to within a few hundred miles of Japan and it was furthermore prohibited from conducting defensive operations unless there was a direct threat to Japanese territories (Defence Agency 1982, pp. 58, 81-831. Then came the major change in Japan's naval strategy due to the fact that the Reagan administration shifted away from emphasizing a gross increase in defence spending and focused instead on specific roles and missions that the Japanese could assume . The May 1981 talks between Prime Minister Suzuki and President Reagan and a subsequent promise by Suzuki to defend the sea lanes up to 1,000 nautical miles have fundamentally changed Japan's naval strategy from a reactive to a positive one within the framework of Japan-U.S. security co-operation. The MSDF now became obliged to secure and sustain two major sea lanes of communication: (11 an eastern sea lane extending 1,000 nautical miles southward from Tokyo Bay towards Guam; and (21 a western sea lane stretching 1,000 nautical miles from Osaka Bay to the southwest as far as the Bashi Channel. This was an unprecedented decision , given the inadequate force level of the MSDF at the time as well as the contentious strategy of closing the three vital Straits of Soya, Tsugaru, and Tsushima ("Shiren boei no gimon •, 19821. The ASEAN countries were greatly concerned with Japan's upgrading of its naval capability out of the fear of a militaristic trend in Japan. Prime Minister Nakasone not only espoused Suzuki's pledge in 1983, but also reinforced the scope and mission of the MSDF substantially during his administration. The Soviet deployment of TU22N Backfire bombers in the region served as a catalyst to Japan's developing a more credible maritime capability. Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Toshio Yamazaki, explained the rationale: Japan's need to increase its defence capability and extend protection of its sea lanes to 1,000 miles south of Tokyo was prompted by the naval and air buildup of the Soviet Union .36

Nakasone also stated bluntly that Japan should acquire complete and full control of the straits commanding the approach to Moscow's far eastern naval bases.37 It was these developments in East Asia that characterized the decision for sea-lane defence as a crucial step towards making Japan a key security factor in the region - a step


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

supported by both the political and military realists. In this respect, the 1985 Mid-Term Defence Programme has had a major impact on Japan 's maritime strategy. 38 Of most significance was the fact that the programme emphasized the protection of the sea lines of communication and the space above, necessitating a substantial expansion and qualitative improvement of anti-submarine aircraft and escort ship forces, together with a study of an efficient system of maritime air defence . The programme specified that by 1990 Japan would have 100 anti-submarine planes, including ninety-four P3Cs and sixty-two escort ships, forty-three of which will be equipped with guided missiles .39 Furthermore, a vital joint study on sea-lane defence was initiated in March 1983 between the U.S. Navy and the MSDF and completed in December 1986. Although the exact contents of the study were not disclosed (but reportedly leaked to Yomiuri Shimbun). the formulation of effective measures to be taken in sealane defence , the threat , scenario, troop strength to be deployed , and the essentials of joint defence actions were contemplated and recommended (Boeicho 1987, pp. 206-7; Yomiuri Shimbun, 6 January 1987, pp. 1, 2) . Furthermore, the capability of the SDF has been strengthened markedly by undertaking three major projects: the Aegis ship missile system, the FSX aircraft , and the Patriot missile programme (Jane's Defence W eekly , 10 December 1988, pp. 1478-82). Thus, as far as its sea-lane defence is concerned, the Japanese Government has substantially levelled up its naval capability and the MSDF has become largely confident enough to defend surrounding waters including the critical Straits of Soya, Tsugaru , and Tsushima. Concomitantly, the strict interpretation of constitutional constraints has been somewhat deflated as seen in the joint working arrangement on the "inter-operability" project as well as Japan 's decision to allow the transfer of military technology to the United States. In early 1986 the Japanese Government took one step further by declaring it constitutionally permissible to protect U.S. vessels rendering assistance to the defence of Japan's sea lanes, even if Japanese territory is not under external attack .40 With this as a precept, and given the highly interdependent strategic collaboration between Tokyo and Washington , there will undoubtedly be more circumspection in demarcating the line between individual and collective self-defence . Can Japan come up with a more positive and active policy in this field? One possibility would be the "Common Pacific Defence Fund" proposed by Masashi Nishihara of the National Defence Academy. The Common Fund, to which Japan would contribute US$5 to 10 billion a year, will be used to finance the U.S. military presence in

The ASEAN Factor


the Gulf, which helps ensure stable oil supplies, as well as reduce U .S. military costs in the Philippines and South Korea (Far Eastern Economic Review, 21 April1988, p. 28). Probably the most significant event in Japan's maritime strategy took place in 1987 when Prime Minister Nakasone "proposed" to send Japanese mine-sweepers to the Persian Gulf in order to safeguard sea lanes in the Gulf as part of other Western countries' security cooperation, a move strongly supported by the military realists. The Foreign Ministry also proposed that Japan should contribute directly towards the U .S. cost of patrolling in the Gulf. It was because of the Constitution and public sensitivity that the Japanese Government , upon consulting with the ruling party leaders in October 1987, decided to "extend cooperation in the prompt establishment of facilities to help passing shipping by use of high-precision radio waves" .41 The event ostensibly underscored the critical linkage between the Persian Gulf and the western Pacific. However , this co-operative effort will be meaningless without stability in Southeast Asian waters including the Straits of Malacca and Singapore as well as those of Lombok and Sunda . To Japanese defence policy-makers , a consolidated position among the ASEAN countries over the security of their sea lanes is vital, yet the reality is far from satisfactory . A new step needs to be taken, given the fact that except for small-scale bilateral naval exercises there is no policy co-ordination other than the ASEAN consensus on sea-lane defence . Reviewing the state of ASEAN 's naval strategy, one Japanese military expert aptly put it : ASEAN Joint Sea Lane Defence Command , consisting of these ASW and minesweeper forces , should be set up , and ne cessary C 31 system should be established . jSakonjo 1988, p. 102)

Japan's decision for the sea-lane defence was critically important to the ASEAN countries because it was undertaken in conjunction with strengthening Japan-U .S. security co-operation .42 In 1980, for instance, Japan's MSDF participated, for the first time, in the RlMPAC exercises. As a result, joint military exercises between the two have been increased dramatically . Given this development one may be tempted to call Japan-U .S. relations an "alliance" - a formidable bulwark against the Soviet Union . Thus, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir was right when he stated clearly in an interview with a Japanese newspaper that being a strong shield against the Soviet Union, "Japan can be a front line for the defence of ASEAN" (Asahi Shimbun, 1 January 1983, p. 11) . Japan-ASEAN collaboration over sea-lane defence has been marginal


Southeast Asia in Japanese Security Policy

mainly because of Japan's constitutional constraints and because ASEAN as a group has never asked for greater maritime co-operation. Yet, in recent years a modest step towards mutual co-operation seems to have been taken by the JDA. It was widely speculated that the JDA Director-General Tsutomu Kawara's visit to the ASEAN countries in June-July 1988 was to get Indonesia's and Singapore's support for the protection of Japanese commercial ships sailing through the Straits of Malacca and that the uncertainty over the future of the U.S . bases in the Philippines may have prompted this Japanese initiative .43 At the same time, Japan 's active role in the defence of sea lanes is likely to come in the course of implementing the so-called "maritime air defence strategy• (Yojo baku koso), in which the MSDF deals with the external threat by installing an over-the-horizon (OTH) radar system either in Iwojima or some islands south of Kyushu. The E-ZC early-warning aircraft of the Air Self-Defence Force (ASDF) will fly over the territory and upon receiving warning , F-15 and F-4 fighters will take action against the enemy 's intrusion. In order to level up its air defence , the JDA will acquire two Aegis ships."" The central problem of this strategy is that some of the moves contemplated by the JDA cannot be completed without revising the force goals of the 1976 Outline (see Appendix 4) . In particular, it is estimated that the existing twenty-eight aircraft control and warning units are inadequate to operate the OTH radar .

Regional Security Plannin&

China , Korea , and the ·ASEAN region have been the three main concerns of Japan 's regional security planning with a new element of their being increasi ngly interrelated. With a view to making the East and Southeast Asian region a politically stable and economically dynamic one , Tokyo has decided to make every effort to incorporate the countries of the region into the mainstream of the Asian international system .•5 For this reason, South Korea and ASEAN are regarded as the important regional actors simply because they have communist countries as their neighbours . Japan sees in China an important bulwark against the Soviet Union and a stabilizing force in the region . Japan's relations with China improved markedly with the conclusion of a Treaty of Peace and Friendship in September 1978. Economically, the treaty enabled the Japanese Government to initiate a major economic assistance programme for Beijing, namely, a yen loan package deal. Encouraged

The ASEAN Factor


by China's open-door policy led by reform-minded leaders, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has decided to help China modernize in order to seek a stable China that is friendly to non-communist countries in the region as well as to make it serve as a buffer state against the Soviet Union . Militarily , there are more exchanges of military personnel and information . At the same time , the economic relationship is significantly contributing to China's four modernizations policy, one of which is the modernization of China's armed forces. In recent years , there were two major events that affected Japan's policy towards China. In early 1988, China began stationing troops on eight islands of the Spratlys in the South China Sea and built military installations on two reefs , which was denounced by Hanoi as an intrusion . A naval skirmish soon resulted on 14 March , in which Vietnam lost two ships and seventy-four men (Research Institute for Peace and Security 1988, p. 116; Yomiuri Shimbun , 26 March 1988, p. 51. The incident has given rise to fears in the ASEAN countries of an increase in Sino-Vietnamese hostilities as an extension of the Cambodian issue . Noteworthy is the fact that the Chinese have considered developing their naval capability and have projected their naval power with greater confidence. Japanese defence officials have not reacted perhaps because of the configuration of Japan 's naval and air forces , which are premised largely on anti -submarine warfare (ASW) and designed exclusively for the protection of Japan 's home islands.46 The implication was that a U .S. withdrawal from the Philippines could have brought about •a free-for-all competition" (Far Eastern Economic Review , 21 April 1988, p . 28) . Another major event was the Tiananmen incident in June 1989, which bas almost isolated China diplomatically . The Japanese Government responded to the incident by freezing its financial assistance (that is, the third yen loan of 810 billion yen) while not following the stiff retaliatory policy of the Western countries. Aware of the danger of •isolating" China, the Japanese Foreign Ministry explained that Japan's muted "sanction" will be lifted when China's situation stabilizes and that aid could be resumed if China's economic liberalization programme is restored , "even if political freedoms do not return" .47 The incident was another test of Japan's aid policy and increasingly turned Japanese officials to the need for incorporating political conditionality in its economically oriented policy. Like its policy towards China, Japan has paid special attention and made vigorous efforts to maintain a friendly relationship with South Korea. Stability in the Korean peninsula is a key factor in Japan's security planning. Given the precarious relations existing before


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

1982, Nakasone's visit to Seoul in January 1983 and President Chun Doo Hwan's visit to Tokyo in September 1984 highlighted the beginning of a new and viable relationship . In consolidating the relations, Nakasone and the Foreign Ministry took a political decision to offer special economic assistance (US$1.8 billion for 1984- 90) to Seoul in 1983. Behind this lay a shared understanding that an unstable South Korea that is vulne rabl e to Pyongyang 's political intimidation and interve ntion could be avoided by such assistance . To this end , Tokyo also e ncourages Beijing to promot e a friendly relationship between China and South Korea, as exemplified by the attempt of Foreign Ministe r Abe.• 8 Militarily, Japan and South Korea have improved their ti es , as ca n be seen in the visit of the Director-General of the JDA to Seoul in 1979 and Nakasone 's diplomatic efforts, despite the hi stori call y diffi cult issues and sentiments involved . In 1985 , for insta nce , South Korean Defe nce Min iste r Yoon Sung-win stated that Seoul would pursue security co-ope ration with the United States and Japan on a gradu al basis, a move encouraged by the fact that both countri es have security trea ties with the United States . Along this lin e , furth erm ore , collaboration on the defence of the Tsushima Straits is ca lled for by the Japan ese military realists .' 9 Japan -ASEAN relati ons have also evolved in a similar way , as observed in th e previ ous secti on . As part of a compre hensive security poli cy . th e Foreign Ministry has ex te nded its strategic aid to Thailand while givi ng strong political support for ASEAN 's efforts in resolvi ng the Cambod ian confli ct. Japan cons iders ASEAN more important than Indochin a and as important as China , both in terms of trade and investment a nd of political and strategic goals . For ins tance , when th e ASEA cou ntries expressed their reservations agai nst Japan 's yen loans to China in 1979 , the Japanese Government formulated the so-call ed "three principl es· . thus taking into account ASEAN needs and interests in unde rt aki ng Japan 's compre he nsive security policy: (I ) Japan will ex te nd its eco nomi c assis tance to China in accordance with the assistance exte nded by the West; (2) Japan wiJI consider the needs of other Asian , especiaH y ASEA , countries ; and (3) Japan will not unde rtake any military co-operation with Cruna .so Japan 's poli cy towa rds Vietnam is another indication that the Japan ese Government takes into account the needs and interests of ASEAN . For instan ce , in his talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Mochtar Kusumatmaadja in January 1981 , former Foreign Minister Ito pledged that Japan would have "prior consultations· with ASEAN when it resumes its aid to Hanoi (Asahi Shimbun , 13 January 1981 , p . 1) . In 1987 , furth ermore , th e Japanese Governme nt , in consideration of

The ASEAN Factor


ASEAN interests, prohibited a giant private company from continuing its economic co-operation with Vietnam . This event attested to the importance of ASEAN to Japan. Likewise, Tokyo's ASEAN-oriented policy has been further strengthened by its accommodative efforts in the Cambodian conflict. Nevertheless, Japan-ASEAN security relations are confined only to exchanges of defence personnel and intelligence , as seen above . Therefore , in developing its regional policy . Japan regards its eco· nomic aid to China, South Korea , and the ASEAN countries as a political instrument to strengthen these countries vis-a-vis their re · spective adversaries , the Soviet Union , North Korea. and Vietnam . Mainly puiSued by the Foreign Ministry, these effort s stem from th e concept of a comprehensive national security poli cy. Following this policy supported by the political realists, the JDA has gradually reinforced its security relations with these three since the early 1980s.

The Philippine Problem Since the advent of the Aquino administration in February 1986, the Philippines has faced two insurmountable problems: an economy with staggering foreign debts and the mountin g nationalisti c fervour against the retention of the U.S. bases . Although these are two separate issues, the complexity of the Philippine problem calls for a comprehensive solution, if not a panacea. The importance of the Philippine bases is amply recognized by the Japanese leaders. The United States maintains six major operational facilities in the Philippines, the tyvo major bases being Subic Bay Naval Complex and Clark Air Base. Together with Yokosuka and Sasebo, Subic Bay is one of the three forward bases in the western Pacific and it retains the largest U.S. naval facilities west of Hawaii . Clark Air Base hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Thirteenth Air Force . The Clark fa cility furthermore serves as a staging point for strategic airlifts into the lndian Ocean and permits constant surveillance of the "choke points• of the Malacca, Sunda, and Lombok Straits. Taken together , the bases represent an American commitment to the maintenance of regional order, including the economic progress of the region . As Singapore Prime Minister Lee stated in November 1987, • ASEAN 's economic progress would be jeopardized if the United States were to be compelled to surrender these bases" (Straits Times , 12 November 1987).


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

The so-called "mini -Marshall plan" or multilateral aid plan was thus initiated . The genesis of the Philippine Multilateral Aid Initiative (MAl l lies in a 25 November 1987 letter to U.S. President Reagan from a bi-partisan group of American legislators who suggested that the Philippines needed a variant of the Marshall plan, with the goal of raising a total of US$5 billion over five years. The letter urged a two-pronged approach to help the Aquino government: First , the United States must be willing to make a substantial increase over its present aid commitments to the Philippines . Second , the U.S . must make a much more vigorous effort to persuade Japan and other countries in Asia to dramatically increase th eir assistance to th e Philippines . (Straits Times , 30 November 1987 ; Far Eastern Eco nomic Review , 19 May 1988, pp. 40-411

The Japanese Government indicated general support for the plan but expressed its reservations on two counts at the beginning. First, because of domestic pressures against Japan 's possible "military• involvement, Tokyo did not want it to be linked with the American bases issue. Second , Japan was concerned about a lack of specific economic development projects that would be included in the proposal (Asahi Shimbun , 22 April 1988, p . 2; Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 31 May 1988, p . 3). Since most of the expected participants supported in principle the basic idea of a mini-Marshall plan, the question in a way was how it should be funded and who should be the lead partner. Between Tokyo and Washington , there was a major difference over extending substantial assistance to the Philippines . While Washington wanted to impose politi'cal conditionality (that is , political democratization as the pre-condition for assistance). Tokyo argued that aid should be provided on the basis of economic rationale . The United States and Japan attempted to resolve the issue at the 1988 Toronto summit of the Group of Seven (G-7) as well as at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers ' discussion with dialogue partners in July 1988, yet no consensus emerged . However , the problem was soon resolved by the efforts of the Japanese . In February 1989, Prime Minister Takeshita and newly elected President Bush agreed to implement the plan within that year , followed by the Philippine coordinator of the plan , Roberto Villanueva, visiting Tokyo with the ' blueprint• in May . Two months later, Japan hosted the initial meeting organized by the World Bank. At the meeting , the Japanese Government offered to provide US$1 billion, which was 30 per cent of the total sum . It also planned to offer another US$600 million from its Export-Import Bank to help Manila reduce its US$28.6 billion debt.

The ASBAN Factor


The United States pledged an additional USS200 million for fiscal year 1989(Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 5 July 1989 , p . 5; Straits Times , 6 Jul y 1989, p . 1; Kokusai kyoryoku tokubetsu joho , 15 September 1989 , pp . 1-8) . lnterestingly enough, some Japanese officials characterized the MAl endeavour as a "Philippine method " in whlcb the United States "writes a scenario and Japan plays a leading role in implementing it ", and which will be re-employed to resolve defence-cum-economic problems in the future (Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 2 July 1989 , p . 5) . As the Japanese see it, the chief guarantor of Japan 's interest has been the United States through its predominant presence in th e region. Against this backdrop , the consequences of a diminishing American presence will bode ill for Tokyo. Although two options are conceivable, that is, the redeployment of American military faciliti es in other parts of the region and the further intensification of defence co-operation within the ASEAN countries as well as between them and the United States, there are no potential alternatives to Subic Bay outside the Philippines. While recognizing the importance of the bases in the Philippines, the Japanese Government officially takes a neutral position over the issue. Foreign Ministry offi ci als have kept a certain distance from the bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and the United States, although, ostensibly, they recognize the special contribution the American bases have made to peace and stability in Southeast Asia (Ando 1988 , pp . 79-88) . Underneath the cautious wait-and-see attitude , the Foreign Ministry sees in the bases issue an opportunity to play a greater political role in the region. On the other hand, defence officials and the military realists have shown some concern over the fate of the American bases in the Philippines. According to one of the defence Whlte Papers: From the military point of view , the Philippines is situated in an area that controls the maritime transport route through which such important resources as oil are carried from the M.iddle East to the Pacific region . The United States has Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Meanwhile , Soviet forces are stationed constantly at Cam Ranb Bay in Vietnam that fac es the Philippines across the South China Sea. In this situation . future developments in the Philippines are considered to have an influ · ence on the peace and stability in all of Asia . (Defence Agency 1988, p. 60)

However, what the Japanese can do about the American bases in the Philippines is limited, other than to strengthen their financial contribution to the Philippines, as the MAl case bas demonstrated .


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Beyond this minimum role , the Japanese do not seem to have any further intention or capability. Japan's SDF cannot fill the vacuum after the withdrawal of the bases in the Philippines, and Tokyo does not intend to forge any security alliance with the ASEAN countries to ensure the safety of sea lanes in Southeast Asia.

Assessing the ASEAN Factor

From the above case-studies it can be readily inferred that, firstly, under the aegis of comprehensive national security, the Japanese Government, supported by the political realists, has been undertaking vigorous policies towards the ASEAN region, especially since the early 1980s. Due mainly to American pressure to take on a larger role in the international community, all government agencies as well as the ruling party have come to forge a consensus that Japan should take all possible measures to elevate its status as a major power by playing a more active and effective role in the alliance , as the defence allocation of the national budget since the early 1980s has amply suggested . It was because of this consensus that the Japanese Foreign Ministry could play a key role in contributing financially to the resolution of the Cambodian conflict and the Philippine problem . The first , third , and fourth cases saw the Foreign Ministry strengthening its political role in the region by proposing increased economic assistance . Japan 's strengthened defence capability, especially in the maritime and air SDFs, has increased Tokyo's ability to play a "balancing" role in the context of the Southeast Asian power configuration , as its potential for preventing Soviet expansion southward has been conceivably upgraded . However, due to constitutional constraints and the pacifist sentiments of the public, the Defence Agency has been unable to forge a meaningful relationship with the ASEAN countries , as the second and third cases have demonstrated . Compared with Japan 's growing political role in the region , Japan-ASEAN security relations have remained marginal . It will not be possible for the Japanese Government to transfer dual-use technology, let alone military equipment, to the ASEAN countries under the present legal framework in the foreseeable future. Even a de facto defence relationship does not seem feasible politically, although there has been an implicit alignment of Japan, ASEAN, China, South Korea, and the United States against Vietnam and the Soviet Union since late 1979. The critical factor shaping Japanese strategic thinking is the role

The A SEAN Factor


played by the United States and its presence in Southeast Asia. It should be noted here that due to the American factor the Japanese Government, especially the ruling party, has altered overtly and covertly the rationale underlying Japan's defence policy: the loosening of constitutional constraints, allowing the export of defence technology to the United States, participation in multilateral joint exercises, and the rescinding of the ceiling on the defence budget. The ASEAN factor was seen as a constraining input, collectively or individually, during the early 1980s which was utilized to deflate excessive American pressure for burden-sharing. In recent years, however, the ASEAN factor has been deemed as a more constructive input, which encourages Japan's greater role in the region. In this respect, the fourth case will shed some light on future discussion of Japan's role in Southeast Asia vis-a-vis its security-cum-economic assistance. With a growing prospect of "declining" American presence in the region, Japan-ASEAN collaboration in the fields of political and security relations is likely to come to the fore in the foreseeable future.

V. Japan's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues

The marginal level of security co-operation between Japan and the ASEAN countries attests to the fact that there exist some formidable obstacles in developing any meaningful and constructive relationship in this field . Some leaders in the region worry that Japan will sooner or later transform its enormous economic strength into military power. Others still contend that Japan will try to protect its expanded overseas interests by the use of its military forces. This is understandable because of the fact that the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia has left vivid scars ·in the minds of the region's populace . However, the changing security environment in Asia does not seem to preclude Japan's active role in this part of the world. The question thus posed is: Will Southeast Asia's importance in Japanese security policy grow in the future? This possibility is examined under the three broad headings: (1) ASEAN in search of a modus operandi for greater security co-operation; (2) possible Japanese roles in Southeast Asia; and (3) obstacles to greater Japan-ASEAN security co-operation.

ASEAN in Search of a Modus Operandi for Greater Security Co-operation

Although not a military organization itself, ASEAN has been concerned with security problems that stem from both internal and external causes. Up until 1975, nevertheless, the ASEAN countries saw their

japan's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues


primary security concerns as being internal to each society, and emphasized a combination of policies to achieve economic well-being and national stability. In other words, they sought to deal with the internal security question , which includes subversive forces, on their own by pursuing the goal of national resilience. Externally, the ASEAN countries agreed in November 1971 to establish a Zone of Peace, Freedom , and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) . The idea was to achieve a neutralized Southeast Asia as a long-term regional solution. However , the end of the Vietnam war in April 1975 forced the ASEAN countries to reappraise the security situation in Southeast Asia. In particular, the failure of American policy in Vietnam served as a catalyst for change in ASEAN. The ASEAN countries realized that unity was their best instrument for protection against a victorious Vietnam, backed now by the communist giant , the Soviet Union . ASEAN's first commitment to security co-operation came with the 1976 Bali accord , which officially recognized the continuation of co-operation on a non-ASEAN basis between the member states in security matters in accordance with their mutual needs and interests . (ASEAN Secretariat 1978, p. 115)

This resulted in the most extensive border agreement between Thailand and Malaysia in early 1977. However, ASEAN's security cooperation was kept strictly within the framework of bilateral agreements while simultaneously approaching Hanoi with its economic assistance policy. This policy of "appeasement" did not augur well because the emergence of Vietnam by 1979 as the predominant power in Indochina based on a Soviet alliance defied ASEAN's hope for a region free of great power involvement . The United States, on its part, reacted to the changing security environment in Southeast Asia with a policy aimed at playing the part of a strategic broker between ASEAN and Japan while strengthening its commitment to the ASEAN region . This was spelt out in a classified document , the Defence Guidance Plan for 1984-88, a study completed in rnid-1982 and leaked to the New York Times . In a nutshell, the Reagan Administration intended to replace the "swing" strategy with a strategy of "horizontal escalation" (New York Times , 7 June 1982, p . A3; Far Eastern Economic Review , 18 June 1982, pp. 10-11) . To this end, ASEAN was expected to move towards its own cohesive regional defence strategy. In September 1982, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew proposed to step up regional security co-operation. After talks with Indonesian President Soeharto, Lee said publicly that the ASEAN countries sliould work towards holding combined military


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

exercises to strengthen their defences against communist power in the region . Lee's rather abrupt announcement took other ASEAN leaders by surprise and met highly negative responses from them (Pacific Defence Reporter, November 1982, pp . 55-58). What the classified document and Lee's initiative (not to mention Japan's acceptance of the sea-lane defence strategy) meant was that the United States wanted Japan and ASEAN to move towards loosely structured regional military co-operation similar to that existing under the Manila pact and ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) alliance . To be sure , these developments did not preclude the intramural conflicts among the ASEAN countries. In fact, distrust and ill-feelings among the member countries generated by antagonistic interaction before and after the inception of the organization still exist today. Reactions to Israel 's President Chaim Herzog's visit to Singapore in November 1987 is a case in point (Leifer 1989, pp. 144-47) . Therefore, ASEAN is likely to be a diplomatic community at best while retaining the minimum principles of restraint on competition , respect for the integrity of others, and close consultation . Whether or not ASEAN can go beyond bilateral security co-operation remains to be seen. Against this background, there appear to be two exigent issues stemming from the increasing prospect of a political settlement in Cambodia and recent Philippine-U .S. base negotiations, thereby paving the way for ASEAN's greater regional security co-operation. If the Cambodian conflict is politically settled in the near future , it is expected that ASEAN will face security differences with Vietnam and China over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Furthermore, the naval and ai:r forces of several ASEAN countries were upgraded mainly because of the high stakes of South China Sea control. In fact, Malaysia and the Philippines had a dispute in April 1988 , not to mention the fact that a month earlier ASEAN saw China and Vietnam fighting over the conflict zone . Thus, the South China Sea conflict could be the next trouble spot for the ASEAN countries , as Malaysian Foreign Minister Abu Hassan Omar predicted: If China insists on enforcing its claim to the full archipelago , the PRC will replace Vietnam as the greatest threat to regional stability in the corning decade. (International Herald Tribune, 6 July 1988)

The second issue concerns the U.S. bases in the Philippines . It is true that the utility of the bases has been debated for a long time. Those who advocate the continuation of a U.S. air and naval presence in the region see it as a significant contribution to regional security,

]apQJ'I's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues


whereas those opposing the U.S. presence argue that the bases would invite a Soviet attack and perpetuate Philippine dependence, economic or otherwise, upon the United States. Embedded in the emergence of nationalistic fervour in the Philippines, the Aquino government is approaching the bases' renewal in 1991 with every option open. Foreign Minister Raul Manglapus has also proposed that the ASEAN countries assume joint political responsibility for the American presence or a redistribution of the bases (Manila Report, March 1988, p. 9). Under this circumstance, the conclusion of the Military Bases Agreement review in October 1988 did not strengthen the Philippine Government's position for retaining the bases because the agreement failed to achieve substantive improvement for the Philippines in the area of national sovereignty. With the "failure" in reviewing the bases treaty in 1988, the prospect for a gradual phase-out of the bases looms large after 1991. In the face of this, some ASEAN countries advocate the ZOPFAN concept (Far Eastern Economic Review, 18 .Aug~st 1988, pp. 32-33) . Thus, stirred by the possible phasing-out of the American bases, the ASEAN countries have begun their quest for a viable alternative. One initiative taken by Singapore in August 1989 was to share some of the security burden with the United States by providing military facilities for American forces. However, some ASEAN countries, notably Malaysia, expressed strong reservations about the stationing of foreign troops and permanent bases, the main argument being that this would undermine ASEAN's decision for the ZOPFAN concept. Nevertheless, this policy debate within ASEAN could be a welcome development because Singapore's move would signify the beginning of ASEAN's heightened interest in regional security co-operation. ASEAN's need for a new direction is becoming critical and some innovative ideas have been seriously considered by the national leaders of the Association: the formation of a defence community; the economic reconstruction of Indochina and its reinvolvement in Southeast Asian affairs; the provision of a format for a greater Asia-Pacific group; and greater ASEAN economic co-operation.5 1 Given the fact that the balance of power in Southeast Asia is likely to be in continuous flux, it seems that regional security co-operation should be accorded higher priority. Should this be the case, what will be the best ways and means to achieve greater security co-operation? Although there seem to be many general areas to be explored among the ASEAN countries - and in fact some top ASEAN leaders have discussed several possibilities52 - one fresh incentive, if carefully approached, could shed significant light on the future direction of regional co-operation:

Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy


ASEAN countries should explore the possibilities of security cooperation with Japan. Although Japan's role is still viewed negatively in some quarters, there is growing realization with generational change that Japan can contribute in many areas of security.53

Japan's Role in Southeast Asia

Judging from ASEAN's changing needs and interests, there has been a gradual and reluctant acceptance of Japan's more active political role in the region (Sudo 1989, pp . 63-64) . Given the economic and political conditions in each member country, the ASEAN countries prefer more assistance from like-minded outside countries, including Japan, in order to buttress their national as well as regional resilience. Based on this, an identification, albeit at the risk of oversimplification, of several common perceptions may serve as reference points for defence planners of both Japan and the ASEAN countries. These underlying perceptions include the following : 1. Japan's security role should be confined to the defence of Japan, its adjacent waters, and sea lanes of 1,000 nautical miles, and this should be executed within the framework of the Japan-U.S . security alliance.54 2. Japan's defence buildup is acceptable within the parameters of its self-defence, and the increase should be within the context of conventional armament, not nuclear weapons. In view of the possible misperceptions of Japan 's future security role , it is crucial that institutionalized consultations take place [between Japan and the ASEAN countries) (Wanandi 1988, p. 334) . 3. Japan's active political role in the region is desirable and its security-cum-economic a:>sistance can be extended in such a way that it buttresses ASEAN's domestic and regional resilience , which in turn strengthens the security of the ASEAN region. 55 Given these changing security factors guiding Japan and the Southeast Asian countries, it is likely that in the next five to ten years the following three issues could evolve around the theme of Japan's politico-security role in Southeast Asia: (1) political co-ordination with the ASEAN countries; (2) Japan's strategic aid; and (3) the sealane defence strategy.

Political Co-ordination with the ASEAN Countries

As an extension of its active political role, Japan can pursue various policies. First, some form of agreement between all the ASEAN coun-

japan's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues


tries and the Japanese Government over the exchange of military officials and students can be worked out (currently only Thailand and Singapore have such an agreement). given the fact that the joint training builds up closer human relations and promotes mutual understanding. With Director-General Kawara's visit to the region in 1988 as a precedent, top-level official visits can be institutionalized between Japan and the ASEAN countries. A biannual meeting could possibly highlight the discussion of sea-lane defence, followed by a general exchange of opinions concerning regional security. With the institutionalized dialogue, ASEAN can try to bring Japan into its own politico-security network as an important stabilizing factor. Second , given the Japanese decision to send civilian personnel to Cambodia after a political settlement is reached , the ASEAN countries can encourage Tokyo to further pursue a more active political role in the region by supporting the participation of Japanese defence officials as part of the U .N. peace-keeping forces or in some other form acceptable to both Japan and ASEAN .

japan's Strategic Aid

Can Japan broaden the scope for its economically oriented aid? Should Japan embark on security assistance similar to that of the United States or of Australia? Although Japan 's strategic aid is a sensitive issue for the Japanese , it is not a dead issue for the ASEAN leaders. In 1981 , for instance, the ASEAN nations of Indonesia and Thailand expressed their desire to receive "security aid" as well as arms from Japan (Straits Times , 8 March 1981; Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 5 September 1981, p . 4) . The Japanese Government rejected all the requests , saying that the Constitution and public sentiments precluded any form of strategic or military assistance. However, depending on how recipient countries spend aid - for instance, they may divert more of their own national budgets into purchasing weapons as they have Japan's loans for use in national development -Japan's economic assistance could just serve strategic and military purposes.56 In this respect, the policies of the United States and Australia may help the Japanese Government to initiate a low-profile measure to deal with the ASEAN demand. According to American and Australian security assistance schemes, the following items are covered: foreign military sales, Economic Support Fund (economic aid to strategically important countries). military assistance programme, international military education and training, peace-keeping operations, and anti-terrorism assistance

(Yasutomo 1986, p. 72; Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

1984,. Apperentty, except for the first and third items, Tokyo has been providing the same kind of assistance under the name of •economic aid• . While what this means in terms of J•pan 's strategic aid may seem insignificant, it is useful to explore the possibility of Tokyo undertaking its security assistance as other countries do. Japan's Foreign Ministry. apparently afraid of being accused of its involvement in •strategic aid• as well as brealring the national consensus for greater foreign aid , prefers to call it •peace aid" although the content of this aid is identical to that of strategic aid. 57 The point here is that Japan 's quest for a new aid philosophy could be worked out with the ASEAN countries. One modest but significant step bas already been taken by the Japanese Foreign Ministry to broaden the scope of Japan's strategic aid .51 ln July 1988, Foreign Minister Uno, in presenting Japan's Indochina policy at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, announced Japan 's intention to provide financial assistance for maintaining an international peace-keeping force and to dispatch civilian personnel to ensure peace in Cambodia, following a political settlement. It is indeed a new commitment that could have great implications for Japan·ASEAN relations in the near future : Japan intends not only to expand its contributions in the economic field . but also to embark on new forms of contributio.ns in the political and diplomat ic fields . with a view of fmding solution to regional con.flicts and relaxing tension . (Uno 1988, p . 3)

It is conceivable that there could be further movement in this direction should there be mutually agreeable policies between Japan and ASEAN. In sum, Japan 's strategic aid , or •peace aid• as the Japanese prefer to call it, can be co-ordinated more closely with the ASEAN countries. As for the MAl , Japan 's security-cum-economic aid can be utilized for the defence of the AsBAN region , for example, in indirect assistance to modernize the defence systems of ASEAN as well as in financial aid to underwrite American military involvement in Southeast Asia.

Sea· Lane Defence Strategy

Japan 's involvement in the region 's sea-lane defence is almost nonexistent so far except for some financial and technical contribution to the hydrographic surveys in the Malacca and Singapore Straits and to the installation of navigational aids in the area. Although it is very

Japan's Politico-Security Role in Southeast A sia: Divisive Issues


sensitive and difficult for the Japanese Government to forge any security relations with ASEAN due to constitutional constraints and the public's sensitivity, some of the low-profile measures can be addressed here. In 1980, an American scholar suggested a joint arrangement on the security of the straits in Southeast Asia , with Japan financing a Southeast Asian coast guard (Barnett 1980, pp . 117 -25). Singapore Prime Minister Lee suggested the idea of a "multinational naval task force", including Japan, to ensure a balance of power in Southeast Asia (Lau Teik Soon 1983, p. 123). Should ASEAN as a group request for such a "financial" project, it is likely that the idea could be put into practice . In the light of the importance attached to a naval strategy, it may be possible for the MSDF to provide some technical advice for anti-submarine and anti-mine warfare in which it possesses relatively high expertise. In particular, should the U.S. bases in the Philippines gradually be phased out or reduced in size , how are the ASEAN countries and Japan going to cope with regional security, and more specifically the defence of the South China Sea? Can the · ASEAN countries go it alone , individually or collectively? How can Japan guarantee the safety of its commercial ships carrying vital resources from the Middle East? Our discussion so far suggests some minimal conditions for maintaining the region's security. One is for Japan and the ASEAN countries to defend their own waters by themselves: Japan 's responsibility is the western Pacific, including the vital Straits of Soya, Tsugaru, and Tsushima; and ASEAN 's responsibility is the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore . Between the two , as this study stresses, there should be functional co-operation by forging informal codes of joint activities . Since the prospect of a new balance of power in Southeast Asia is likely to emerge , such cooperative measures can be consulted accordingly.59 In sum, the possibility of ASEAN 's joint naval exercises with an indirect linkage to the ongoing exercises of extra-regional powers could be explored, while concomitantly establishing a regional body with a command and control system. To defend Japan's vital sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore as well as in the South China Sea, the ASEAN countries, individually or collectively, could ask for technical advice and training from Japan with respect to mine-sweeping counter-measures and other related activities through which Japan's dual-use technology could be transferred.60 Of course, the execution of these Japanese policies is totally dependent on how the ASEAN countries perceive their threat and the need for security co-operation with extra-regional powers, including Japan.


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Obstacles to Greater Japan-ASEAN Security Co-operation

As discussed in Chapter III, Japan-Southeast Asia relations have been and are replete with historical legacies and problems. The nub of Southeast Asian sentiments and apprehensions boils down to two issues: (1) the fear of Japan's economic dominance, and (2) the fear of Japan's militarism. The first reached its peak in 1974, resulting in anti-Japanese riots in several capitals in the region, and the second was debated in 1982-83. These two issues still remain the cause of concern in Japan-Southeast Asia relations today . The past pattern was that anti-Japanese movements or demonstrations occurred when external and internal factors adversely affected the political systems of the Southeast Asian countries. These two issues are looked into more closely in order to examine the changing nature of anti-Japanese sentiments. First of all, will Japan dominate Southeast Asia and look upon the region as a mere supplier of raw materials and cheap labour? Southeast Asians believed this to be largely the situation until the early 1970s, as seen in the boycott of Japanese goods in Thailand. Japanese policies, including its foreign aid to the region which made up more than half of its total aid, were perceived as an imperial act of exploitation. As one Southeast Asian critic put it: Japan's war-time vision of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is now a peace-time reality, thanks to reparations, John Foster Dulles and the Cold War, the World Bank , IMF, ADB and other modern instiuments for economically dominating formally independent countries , namely, foreign trade , foreign investment and foreign aid .61

Although Southeast Asian politico-economic conditions were deemed to be "fragile and soft", there were ample reasons for most Southeast Asian and Japanese observers to believe in the inequitable relationship between the rich and the poor. Anti-Japanese sentiments have been ingrained in the minds of Southeast Asians, some of which are of post-war origin, stemming from the "peculiar" and arrogant behaviour or practices of Japanese businessmen in the region. As Japan's economic presence in the region became more visible during the 1970s, the Japanese were perceived as being aggressive and inscrutable and bent on dominating and exploiting the region. This image has been amplified by the very fact of growing economic discrepancies between Japan and the Southeast Asian countries . In one scholar's view:

japan 's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues


It is more likely that the tensions between the Japanese and the Southeast Asians are structural , rooted in the asymmetry of economic power and the inevitable conflict of interests between the two sides . jWeinstein 1982, p. 191)

However, the nature of Japan-Southeast Asia relations has changed gradually since the Plaza agreement in 1985. The resulting appreciation of the yen has triggered a process of economic transformation within Japan and its effects on Southeast Asia are not likely to be less significant. At the same time , due to the twin financial-and -trade deficits, the United States had to gradually retreat from its role of being a great market for the goods of export-oriented Southeast Asian countries. For Southeast Asia , Japan has now to play the role of capital investor and absorber of Southeast Asian goods . Accordingly , the theme of Japanese dominance has receded and been replaced by the need for Japan 's greater involvement and greater economic role . As one scholar put it : Perhaps it was due to Japanese attempts to improve thei r image or perhaps to the changed geopolitical equation in Southeast Asia which has made Japan an important actor . jLee 1986. p . 6)

Another Southeast Asian , Christianto Wibisono , Director of the Center for Indonesian Business Data, while requesting Tokyo to create a "Marshall plan" for ASEAN , said that ASEAN's perception on the Japanese dominance should be broken through by the willingness of ASEAN to receive the more dominant presence of Japan than that of the US or Europe . jNew Straits Times , 1 August 1987)

He further stated that "Japan now needs South-East Asia as a partner to face a world divided into three links - Europe-Africa, Japan-Asia and U.S.-Latin America•. Although the change in attitude of the Southeast Asian countries towards their economic relations with Japan could be attributed to the aforementioned external factors, a growing confidence on the part of the Southeast Asian leaders in steering their own economies also plays a significant part in thls. In fact , ASEAN's economic performance in the past decade was unprecedented among the Third World countries. It was because of their growing confidence that the Southeast Asian countries have found it more beneficial to promote their economic transactions with Japan rather than exploit antiJapanese sentiments as a quid pro quo for Japan's economic concessions. Under this altered relationship, however, there remains a renewed


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

fear of Japan's economic dominance, as shown by Japan's initiative to form an OECD-type economic body in the Asia-Pacific region . It was a fear for ASEAN because any form of new regional body headed by Japan is likely to dilute the momentum towards higher regional co-operation that ASEAN has been vigorously undertaking for years. In such a case, Japan needs to proceed at ASEAN's pace so as to avoid the emergence of a Southeast Asian fear of Japan's economic "dominance" .62 If Japan handles it with care and finesse, the traditional pattern of anti-Japan-ese movements could be avoided. The second issue of Japan 's militarism has gradually emerged as Japan achieves the status of a great power and as the United States exerts "exorbitant" demands on Tokyo to assume more security burdens in the Asia-Pacific region . Therefore, because of the existence of pote ntial anti -Japanese sentiments over Tokyo 's economic dominance it has been felt that Japan 's regional security role would have a destabilizing effect in Southeast Asia and would arouse ASEAN suspicions concerning Japanese motivations . One scholar underscored two reasons for Southeast Asian sensi tivities: The first is the fear that unconstrained Japanese nationalism might once agai n result in military aggression . The second is that Japanese behaviour during the war is still judged to have been so abnormally brutal as to place the country outside the acceptable boundaries of international behaviour . (Buzan 1988, p. 566)

Although one should not Qveremphasize the historical legacy or the burden of the past , it is understandable if the Southeast Asian countries feel "allergic" to developing any sort of security relationship with Japan , and to contin ue to look to the United States for their external protection . The 1982 debate in Southeast Asia highlighted the fear of Japan 's militarism . The debate over Japan 's defence role was triggered by the results of the Suzuki-Reagan talks in 1981 , in which the Japanese Government agreed to defend the 1,000 nautical miles sea lane , the distance measured from Tokyo , not from Japan's southernmost city Okinawa . The then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Indonesian President Soeharto were most vocal against Japan 's growing militarism , as Marcos clearly stated in September 1982: I am certainly for Japan being able to defend itself, but I am against strengthening Japan so that it becomes another threat to us, the smaller countries in Southeast Asia.63

Since both Marcos and Soeharto voiced their reservations while visiting Washington , the ASEAN factor was most effectively felt by

japan 's Politico-Security Role in Southeast Asia: Divisive Issues


the Japanese leaders . For those in Tokyo who did not favour Japan 's rearmament , the ASEAN voice as a constraining factor was the best instrument to elevate their position in the policy-making process. Concomitantly, the Japanese history textbook affair has complicated Japan 's image as a militaristic country. A major event took place in late 1982 when the Japanese Government allowed the Education Ministry to recast certain key sections of a school book , toning down descriptions of Japan 's wartime misdeeds. It was because of Japan 's underestimation of Asian reactions that Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi Miyazawa was obliged to announce that the government would make the necessary amendment to controve rsial history textboo k accounts which had drawn marked criticisms from the Asian cou ntri es (Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 27 August 1982, p. 1; Far Eastern Economic Review , 20 August 1982, pp . 36 - 38) . Japanese leaders had to recognize that the deep-rooted nature of resentment against Japan and the legacy of Japan 's militarism remained . The Japanese Government has been attentive to ASEAN 's concern , having thus far conducted three public suweys in the region . With regard to Japan 's military role , the latest survey shows that the Philippines and Thailand especially expressed their anxieties - 47 per cent and 53 per cent , respectively - while the same su.rvey suggests a slight decrease in the opinion that Japan would not become a military power (Table 4) . A similar fear has been expressed in 1989 when some ASEAN leaders stated that Japan , China , and India are seeking to fill up the power vacuum that would be caused by America 's withdrawal from the region , thereby underscoring a Japanese "threat• to ASEAN ."" It is important to remember that some ASEAN countries fear that a U.S. withdrawal from the region could lead Japan to deploy its naval forces to protect its sea lanes to the Persian Gulf. In this respect , the surge of Lshihara 's "techno-nationalism· in Japan is likely to exacer· bate ASEAN 's fear, for the emergence of a militarily indepe ndent Japan is exactly what the ASEAN countries a.r e most afraid of (Morita and Ishihara 1989) . All in aU, the ASEAN leaders expect Tokyo's positive economic role in the Asia-Pacific region , as former Thai Foreign Minister Siddhl Savetsila put it: & for Japan , while there seems to be a consensus among ASEAN

countries on the undesirability of Japan 's possible remilita.rization , she could contribute to ASEAN's stability and security that are also crucial to her own through her economic clout. ("japan , the United States and ASEAN in the Next Decade" , 1989, p. 151

Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy



ASEAN's Threat Perceptions of Japan (ln percentages) japan Will Be a Military Power

Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Singapore Thailand

japan Will Not Become a Military Power







30 29 25 55

19 37 28 35 54

21 34 47 29 53

45 63 35 26

65 48 60 46 22

68 45 46 46 37

SouRcE: Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Japan .

Given all these formidable factors , it may take some time before Japan and the ASEAN countries agree on greater security co-operation although there are trends towards closer relations . How fast the ASEAN countries , collectively or individually, can overcome the obstacles to greater Japan-Southeast Asia security co-operation remains to be seen .

VI. Conclusion

As Japan develops and flexes its muscles as an economic superpower, a greater role in international relations is inevitable, as seen in Nakasone's "internationalization of Japan" and Takeshita's "International Co-operation Initiative", not to mention an irreversible trend of Japan's national budget that accords the highest priority to national defence and economic assistance. Given the ongoing debate over Japan's future role in the world community, it would also be commendable to contemplate it from a regional point of view (Rapkin 1989, pp. 34-51 ; Kosaka 1989) . Indeed, without a clear picture of Japan's regional role, it would be difficult to forge its global role. What has been suggested here is a modest step towards possible politico-security co-operation between Japan and ASEAN based on the premise that a greater Japanese role in Southeast Asia in the foreseeable future is inevitable and desirable as changing strategic factors in the region seem to attest. Changes in external circumstances have shown an inevitable trend towards Japan's greater politico-security role in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, the United States wants Tokyo to take on an enlarged burden-sharing, which the Japanese Government has done, especially since 1980. As a corollary, Japan's defence capability was significantly upgraded during the 1980s. 65 At the same time, the Japan-U.S. alliance has been strengthened, which in turn helps to balance the Soviet power in the region as well as reduces the temptation for Japan to seek its independent force de frappe. For this reason alone, the Southeast Asian countries have benefited from Japan's critical security role .


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

Furthermore, the emergence of ASEAN as a viable regional body has symbolized a new self-reliance in Southeast Asian security management in the 1980s. The challenge in the 1990s will be how the Association can retain its momentum while reinforcing its politicosecurity relations with extra-regional powers including Japan. Domestic determinants of Japanese security policy have also undergone major changes . First, constitutional constraints have been loosened in some areas, which will allow for Japan's active participation in indirect security co-operation with countries in the region . Second, pacifist sentiments have gradually been changing towards a more realistic understanding of Japan's politico-security role . Third, the ruling LDP , despite its set-back in 1988-89, seems to be more willing to take on an enlarged security role as part of burden-sharing with the United States . Fourth, the JDA and the Foreign Ministry have come to grips with a changing power configuration in the region and committed themselves to a more positive role of maintaining peace and security in Southeast Asia. In other words, Japan has instituted modest policy changes in response to international and domestic pressures. To be sure, these modest changes do not amount to a revival of Japan 's militarism, yet how important they are remains to be seen. All these developments have hinged largely on the growing military buildup of the Soviet Union in East and Southeast Asia.66 Put more bluntly, in support of an "anti-Soviet entente", Japanese politico-security policies have evolved _by way of promoting the political stability and economic viability of non-communist countries in the region . Will this trend, which is based upon the anti-Soviet entente, underpin Japan 's defence posture during the 1990s, given Gorbachev's ongoing peace "offensive"? Although it seems premature to predict the impact of his "new thinking", the answer seems to be positive, as one Japanese scholar explained: It can also be argued that the Soviet military threat toward Japan has in fact increased in the recent past. Therefore, the Japanese efforts in this area of consolidating its deterrence capability in close collaboration with the US will bear a negligible significance not only to the security of Japan but also to that of the Western world as a whole. (Sato 1989, p . 7)

In short, due to the declining American presence in East and Southeast Asia as well as the nagging northern territories issue, the quasiconsensus on the Soviet threat shared by Japanese policy-makers seems unchanged and Japan's greater politico-security role will be



continuously pursued in the foreseeable future . It has to be stressed here that, at a time of transition , the role of the Soviet Union in the Asia-Pacific region should be judged in terms of its military capability rather than of its declaratory policies . However, the capacity of Japan's security posture is not infinite and its physical and political limitations need to be properly understood. This study has traced the historical development of Japan 's defence policy in the context of fulfilling the requirements of security burden-sharing with the United States. Now that Japan has become the world's third largest defence spender , any future development without clear-cut goals and rational planning would run the risk of breaching the "permissible" level of Japan 's commitments . The 1980s will be remembered as an "unprecedented " decade in which quite a number of events have taken place in dispelling a taboo in Japanese defence planning. To be sure , it will be dangerous for Japan to con tinue its strategically meaningless increases in defence spending and economic aid just for the purpose of responding to American pressure . It is in this context that the Japanese Government should live up to the promise that Japan will never be a military power , and instead turn to indirect security co-operation with like-minded countries in the region . Whether or not Japan and ASEAN could undertake greater security co-operation depends on the major obstacles presented by Southeast Asia. In this respect, two key factors that may contribute to a more positive relationship have to be looked into. To begin with , Japan 's sensitivity in deciding any security policy needs to be taken into con sideration . It is because of the existence of pacifism and political leaders oriented to the status quo that any drastic step is bound to fail or at least encounter formidable opposition . For instance , Japan 's aid to buttress a recipient's military is quite possible if it is offered as "peace aid ", not as a controversial military or strategic aid . The point is that should there be any mutually agreeable policy , it should not be seen as changing Japan 's security policy drastically while maintaining the current pace of growth and direction of the Japanese SDF.67 The second factor concerns ASEAN 's needs and interests in maintaining the security of Southeast Asia . Whether based on the ZOPF AN concept or on the shared responsibility of U.S . presence in the region , ASEAN would undoubtedly have to consider making concerted efforts to defend its potentially volatile waters , including the South China Sea. Should Japan and ASEAN keep their houses and surrounding waters in order through mutually agreed policies with strong American support, there will emerge a stable political region


Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy

conducive to the further development of their economies. Finally, the approach at influencing policy-making suggests a crucial point to be borne in mind when ASEAN brings up any security issue with its Japanese counterparts. Because of the sensitive implications it carries, Japan's security role in Southeast Asia should assume a low profile . The Constitution, the public, and opposition parties are all constraining factors that are still in operation within Japanese politics. What ASEAN can best do is to approach more positive actors in the process of Japan's defence policy-making. The United States, the JDA, and possibly defence ·"tribes" of the ruling party could be exploited to ASEAN's benefit for rendering a "political alliance", so to speak, to constructively affect the policy-making process. In so doing, politically practical measures need to be sorted out by the parties concerned. In the final analysis , therefore , vital initiatives with innovative policies should be taken by the ASEAN countries themselves, individually or collectively, to forge such a challenging relationship. Japan 's security policy is a complicated matter and so is JapanSoutheast Asia security relationship. None the less, if defence cost is a kind of insurance policy, Japan should continuously pay its premium even under peacetime conditions, for peace can be obtained only through financial sacrifices and adequate security preparedness at home .68 Indeed, at a time of transition from an economic power to a political one, a growing Japan today needs a higher insurance premium to cover the Asia-Pacific region .



67 APPENDIX 1 General Account Outlays, 1982-89 (Annual growth rate, in percentages)

1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 Social welfare Education Public works Defence Economic aid

2.8 2.6 0.0 7.8 10.7 6.2


0.6 2 .0 -0 .9 1.0 0 .0 -2 .0 6.5 6.6 7.0 7.9

2.7 0 .2 -2.3 6.9 7.8




2.7 2.6 0.1 0.1 -2.3 -2 .3 6.6 5.2 6.3 4.2 3.0


2.9 0.2 0 .0 5.2 5.1

4.9 1.6 1.9 5.9 6.7

4 .8


SouRcE: Ministry of Finance , Japan.

APPENDIX 2 Japanese Defence Expenaitures

1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

Defence Expenditure (billion yen}

Change over Previous Year (%}

Ratio to GNP (%}

Ratio to General Account Budget (%}

134.9 156.9 301.4 569.5 1,327.3 1,512.1 1,690.6 1,901.0 2,094.5 2,230.2 2,400 .0 2,586 .1 2,754.2 2,934.6 3,137.1 3,343.5 3,517.4 3,700.3 3,919.8

-3.3 0 .6 9.6 17.7 21.4 13.9 11.8 12.4 10.2 6.5 7.6 7.8 6.5 6.55 6.9 6.58 5.2 5.2 5.9

1.78 1.23 1.07 0.79 0.84 0.90 0.88 0.90 0.90 0.90 0.91 '0.93 0 .98 0.99 0.997 0.993 1.004 1.013 1.006

13.61 9.99 8.24 7.16 6.23 6.22 5.93 5.54 5.43 5.24 5.13 5.21 5.47 5.80 5.98 6.18 6.50 6.53 6.49

SouRcE: Boeicho, Boei hakusho (various issues) .

APPENDIX 3 Japanese Defence Buildup Plans, 1958-76 First Buildup Plan (1958-60)

Second Buildup Plan (1962-66)

Third Buildup Plan (1967-71 )

Fourth Buildup Plan (1972- 76)

Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF)

Self-defence personnel quota: Units deployed regionally in peacetime Basic units : Mobile operation units

170,000 men 6 divisions 3 composite brigades

171 ,500 men 12 divisions

179,000 men 12 divisions

180,000 men 12 divisions 1 composite brigade

1 mechanized combined brigade I tank regiment 1 artillery brigade 1 air-borne brigade 1 training brigade

1 mechanized division 1 tank regiment 1 artillery brigade 1 air-borne brigade 1 training brigade

1 mechanized division 1 tank regiment 1 artillery brigade 1 air-borne brigade I training brigade I helicopter brigade

1 mechanized division 1 tank brigade 1 artillery brigade 1 air-borne brigade 1 training brigade 1 helicopter brigade

2 anti -aircraft artillery battalions

4 anti-aircraft artillery groups (another group being prepared)

8 anti -aircraft artillery groups

3 escort flotillas

3 escort flotillas

4 escort flotillas

4 escort flotillas

5 divisions

5 divisions

10 divisions

10 divisions

Low-altitude ground-to-air missile units Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF)

Basic units: Anti-submarine surface-ship units (for mobile operations) Anti-submarine surface-ship units (regional district units)

Submarine units Mine-sweeping units Land-based anti-submarine aircraft units Major equipments: Anti-submarine surface ships Submarines ~perational aircraft

1 flotilla 9 squadrons

2 divisions 2 flotillas 15 squadrons

4 divisions 2 flotillas 14 squadrons

6 divisions 2 flotillas 16 squadrons

57 ships 2 submarines (approx. 220 aircraft)

59 ships 7 submarines (approx . 230 aircraft)

59 ships 12 submarines (aprox . 240 aircraft)

61 ships 14 submarines Approx . 210 aircraft (approx . 300 aircraft)

24 groups 12 squadrons

24 groups 15 squadrons 4 squadrons 1 squadron 3 squadrons

24 groups I 0 squadrons 4 squadrons I squadron 3 squadrons

28 groups 10 squadrons 3 squadrons 1 squadron 3 squadrons

2 groups

4 groups

5 groups (another group is being prepared)

(approx . 1,100 aircraft)

(approx . 940 aircraft)

Approx . 510 aircraft (approx. 930 aircraft)

Air Self-Defence Force (ASDFJ Basic units: Aircraft control and warning units Interceptor units Support fighter units Air reconnaissance units Air transport units Early warning units High-altitude ground-to-air missile units Major equipment: Operational aircraft

2 squadrons

(approx. 1, 130 aircraft)

NOTE: Number of operational aircraft given within parentheses denote the total number of aircraft including trainers . The number of units and so on is as of the end of each plan period . SoURcE: Defence Agency (1980, p. 95).



APPENDIX4 •Annex Table" of the National Defence Programme Outline Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF)

Self-defence personnel quota: Basic units : Units deployed regionally in peacetime Mobile operation units

Low-altitude ground-to-air missile units

180,000 men 12 divisions 2 composite brigades 1 armoured division 1 artillery brigade 1 air-borne brigade 1 training brigade 1 helicopter brigade 8 anti-aircraft artillery group

Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDFJ

Basic units : Anti-submarine surface-ship units (for mobile operations) Anti-submarine surface-ship units (regional district units) Submarine units Mine-sweeping units Land-based anti-submarine aircraft units

10 divisions 6 divisions 2 mine-sweeper flotillas 16 squadrons

Main equipments: Anti-submarine surface ships Submarines Combat aircraft

Aprox. 60 ships 16 submarines Aprox . 220 aircraft

4 escort flotillas

Air Self-Defence Force (ASDFJ

Basic units : Aircraft control and warning units Interceptor units Support fighter units Air reconnaissance units Air transport units Early warning units High-altitude ground-to-air missile units

28 groups 10 squadrons 3 squadrons 1 squadron 3 squadrons 1 squadron 6 groups

Main equipment: Combat aircraft

Aprox . 430 aircraft

SouRcE: Defence Agency (1986, p . 264) .



NOTES 1. The following are most useful in terms of a policy-making approach to the issue: Miyawaki (1980, pp. 34-62) and Holland (1988) . 2. The Constitution of Japan, Article IX. For a detailed discussion , see Kim (1969, pp. 5-14) and Kobayashi (1984). 3. It should be noted that the so-called "Japanese Gaullists" have gained a foothold in Japan. See, for instance, Kataoka (1980). 4. For a rare attempt at promoting defence policy by the Foreign Ministry in 1979-80, see Nagano (1986, pp. 361-64) . Some officials have been vocal in formulating the Japanese military strategy. These are dubbed "military realists" . See, for instance, Okazaki (1986). 5. An inquiry into the bugetary allocation process in Japan could be helpful here in unravelling how politicians including Boeizoku and bureaucrats interact although it goes beyond the scope of this study. For the 1982 and 1985 defence budget processes, see "Tosshitsu eno michi" (a 31-part series). Asahi Shimbun, 16 February to 27 March 1982, and Holland (1988, chap. 7). 6. This outline is called the "Kubo scheme" because of Takuya Kubo's critical role in the policy-making process. See Kubo (1979) . 7. Hellmann (1977, pp. 321, 329, 332). For overall Japan-U .S. security relations, see Sneider (1982) . 8. Far Eastern Economic Review, 22 May 1981 , p. 15. The use of the word "alliance" cost Suzuki the loss of his Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ito on 16 May 1981. 9. Yoshida advanced three reasons against Japan's rearmament: (1) it is too expensive for the economy of a defeated Japan; (2) the public does not support it psychologically; and (3) the scars of defeat are still unhealed . See his Kaisojunen (1957, vol. II , pp . 160-61) . 10. For a categorization of Japanese strategic thinking, see Mochizuki (1983/ 84, pp . 152-79). 11. See Kataoka and Myers (1989, chap. 3) for a recent analysis on the subject. 12. The outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 led Japan to establish the Police Reserve Force, which in 1954 became the Japan Self-Defence Forces (SDF) . For a backgrounder, see Hata (1976) and Weinstein (1971) . 13. Boeicho (1970, pp. 28-29) . This is the first official White Paper on defence; it was later renamed Boei hakusho . The basic policy, however, did not define what would be a minimum self-defence capability or how it could be attained. 14. However, in a legal sense, the possession of small nuclear weapons to provide a minimum capability for self-defence and which does not pose a threat of aggression to other nations was said to be permissible. See Boeicho (1970, p . 36). 15. Defence Agency (1986, pp. 305-6). The ceiling of the total amount is



estimated to be 18.4 trillion yen at 1985 prices. 16. See NiJron KeUai Shimb101. 19 December 1953. p. 2 for the seven-point policy statement. 17. For a further discussion . see Sudo (forthcoming. especially chap. 2) . 18. In fact , Suxu.lti maintained that •peace and stability in Southeast Asia are indispe1158ble for Japan's peace and prosperity• . See Yomiuri Shimbun , 6 January 1981 . p . 2. 19. Nihon Keizai Shimb101 (evening issue), 15 November 1979, p. 3. In September 1989, Vietnam officially declared the total withdrawal of its troops from Cambodia. Strait:~ Time.s , 26 September 1989, p. 1. 20. Gaimusho (1979, pp . 42~ ; 1980, pp. 67- 69) . At the 1988 summit meeting of advanced nations held in Toronto, Japan 's efforts to include the Cambodian conflict have resulted in a joint communiqu~ . See Far Ewtem Economic Review , 7 July 1988, pp . 14- 15. 21. It looked M ii • Nakasone was left in the second floor without a ladder• . See Otake (1983, p. 47} . 22. Interview with Ambassador Hisahiko Okazaki , 12 May 1989. 23. For a defence official 's view on the Outline , see ·Boeijirnujikan ni kiku• (1988, pp. 72- 73) . 24 . For the complete text see Department of State Bulletin 81 , no. 2051 Uune 1981 }: 2-4 . 25 . However, there seem to be three main reasons why Japan's defence expenditure , third largest in the world , does not necessarily lead to the strengthening of its defence capability. First , in the pMt five years, while Japan 's defence expenditure doubled in dollar terms, this constituted only a 25 per cent increase in yen terms . Second , about half of the total budget goes to personnel expenses and provisions while only a quarter is spent on equipment and materials purchase . Third, locally made equipment is usually two to three times more expensive than world market prices for them . 26. Asahi Shimbun , 30 June 1989, p . 4. This case will be further explained later . 27. Asahi Shimbun . 4 January 1983, p . 1. Recently, Malaysia and Indonesia have also as.ked the Japanese Government to accept their officers, but their requests have not yet been met due to technkal difficulties . Interview with Malaysian and Indonesian defence officials, 14 June 1989. 28 . Wh ite Paper of}apa11 (1976, pp . 99- 100) . MITI later published its economic security strategy in Tsushosangyosho (1982} . 29 . Sogo anzenhosho kenkyu gurupu (1980) . For an analysis of the concept , see Barnett (1984) . 30. The report also stressed the need to dispatch defence officials overseas M part of the U.N. peace-keeping operations. Asahi Shimbun , 28 July 1980, p. 1. 31. Asahl Shimb101 , 19 December 1984, pp. 1. 4. See Heiwa mondai kenkyululi



(19851 for the report . 32. Yasutomo (1986) . In fact , in 1978 and 1981 the House of Representative's Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a resolution that Japan must abstain from extending economic aid that would be utilized for military objectives. Asahi Shimbun, 31 March 1981 , p. 2. 33. japan Economic journal, 24 October 1987, pp. 1, 2. Nevertheless , at the Paris summit of industrialized countries the Japanese Government announced its intention to increase the amount to US$65 billion. See Straits Times, 17 July 1989, p. 3. 34. japan Economic journal, 17 December 1988, p . 1. Japan's freezing of its aid to Myanmar (Burma) between September 1988 and February 1989 was the first case in which the Japanese Government applied the socalled "political" conditionality. See Asahi Shimbun , 16 March 1989, p . 6. 35. In early 1970, the then Director-General of the JDA, Yasuhiro Nakasone pushed the idea of defending the Straits of Malacca (Marakka boeironl as a way of building up the Japanese armed forces . See Leifer (1978, p . 44) . 36. Bangkok Post , 27 April 1983, p . 6. With respect to the deployment of Backfire bombers , the Defence Agency noted: "Japan's air defense and protection of the seaborne traffic around Japan would be gravely affected" {Defence Agency 1982, p. 32) . 37. Far Eastern Economic Review , 16 June 1983, p . 51. "The Maritime SelfDefence Force is to execute anti-submarine warfare , anti-surface vessel striking operations and such, on enemy submarines and surface vessels which may try to pass through main Japanese straits, and if necessary, by laying mines to prevent them from going through the Japanese straits" (Defence Agency 1983, p . 74) . 38. By early 1985, the Soviet Union was said to have stationed fourteen MiG-23s, sixteen Badger bombers, and four Bear aircraft at Cam Ranh Bay. The JDA disclosed these figures with •trepidation• IYomiuri Shimbun , 23 February 1985, p . 21 . 39. Defence Agency (1986 , pp . 305- 9) . As an extension of its buildup efforts, the JDA has contemplated the introduction of a "light" aircraft carrier. For an "aircraft carrier• debate in Japan, see Yomiuri Shimbun , 3 January and 6 April 1988 . 40. Asahi Shimbun , 7 February 1986, pp. 1, 2. For the best account of Nakasone's efforts to loosen various consfitutional constraints, see Maeda (1987, pp . 67-88) . 41. Defence Agency (1988, p . 257) ; Far Eastern Economic Review , 22 October 1987, pp. 36-37. For a critique by Ambassador Okazaki of Japan's "lukewarm• response , see Kokubo, January 1989, p. 34. 42. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Weinberger stated that "if Japan undertook the defence of the sea-lanes, the United States would be able to throw more forces into the Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean theater• (Research Institute for Peace and Security 1983, p. 237). 43 . Straits Times, 30 June 1988. Some ASEAN countries have asked for



45. 46. 47. 48 . 49.

50 .




54 .



57. 58.


Japanese co-operation in providing some mine-sweeping technology and information. Interview with a Japanese defence attache, 30 March 1989. See Asahi Shimbun, 26 July 1985, p . 4. See also jane's Defence Weekly, 13 January 1990, pp. 64-65 for recent developments in Japan's naval strategy and capability. See Asahi Shimbun, 24 December 1989, pp. 1, 2 for the principle . Interview with a Japanese defence attache, 30 March 1989. Straits Times, 23 June 1989, p . 6 . Singapore Premier Lee supported th.e policy . See Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 8 July 1989, p. 1. Gaiko kenkyukai (1986, pp : 105- 7) . For the Foreign Ministry's bridgebuilding plan, see Yom iuri Shimbun, 21 March 1988, p . 3. Nihon senryaku kenkyu senta (1987, pp . 135-36) . A recent concern is the speculation that North Korea may be acquiring nuclear capability (Yomiuri Shimbun, 10 November 1989, p . 2; Straits Times , 10 February 1990, p . 4) . Asahi Shimbun (evening issue), 3 September 1979, p. 1. These principles were formally announced when Prime Minister Ohira visited China in December 1979. See Asian Wall Street Journal , 3 July 1989, p. 1. See also New Straits Times , 30 March 1989, p. 12 for the possible impact of the U .S.-Soviet as well as China-Vietnam thaw on the ASBAN region. See Singapore Foreign Minister Wong Kan Seng's speech on regional security co-operation in the Straits Times , 23 March 1989, p. 1, and Malaysian Foreign Minister Abu Hassan Omar 's proposal for a defence community in the Straits Times , 5 May 1989, p. 40. See Asian Defence journal , July 1989, p. 34. See also Pacific Defence Reporter , September 1988, pp. 26- 27 for possible Japanese roles in the region . Some observers believe that ASEAN would tolerate Japanese rearmament only to the extent that it frees American ships and planes to operate in greater strength in Southeast Asia . Christian Science Monitor, 10 July 1984, p . 10. See also Prime Minister Lee 's interview in Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 12 January 1988, p. 7; and Pacific Defence Reporter (1990 Annual Reference Edition) , p . 26. Indonesian strategists have said that it was likely that Japan would trade aid for a bolstering of ASEAN defence capability. Far Eastern Economic Review , 14 July 1988, p. 34. This at least was the Soviet argument against Japan's loans to China. A similar case can be observed from Japan 's aid to South Korea . See Lee Chong-sik (1985 , chap. 5). See Nihon Keizai Shimbun , 27 July 1988, p . 2. See also Yomiuri Shimbun , 27 January 1985, p . 2 for Japan-U.S. co-ordination over 'strategic aid' . In the latest diplomatic Blue Book, the Foreign Ministry explains it in terms of "International Cooperation Initiatives', although the term "strategic aid" is not used . See Gaimusho (1989, pp. 16-20) .



59. In effect, the United States has just begun its first co-ordinated exercises throughout the Pacific region under the code name of "Pacex 89", which will have functional co-ordination among the United States, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea. See Straits Times, 8 September 1989, p. 3; Asahi Shimbun , 13 September 1989, p . 4; and Chuma (1989 , pp. 10-14). 60 . This is not to suggest a de facto defence co-operation which is not politically feasible . For more · radical' proposals , see Tow (1978 , pp . 1221-34) ; Nakagawa (1984, pp. 828-39); and Olsen (1985 , pp . 136-37). 61. Constantino (1979, pp . 21-22). For the anti-Japanese movements in 1974, see Manglapus (1976) . 62. For the latest regional attempt in Canberra, see Straits Times , 7 November 1989, p. 7; and Yomiuri Shimbun , 8 November 1989, p. 7. 63 . Far Eastern Economic Review , 22 October 1982, p . 25 . For the best summary of the debate , see Gaimusho (1983 , pp . 90- 97) . 64. This fear may not be warranted given Japan 's force configuration as well as the existing low-profile security co-operation between Japan and the ASEAN countries . For ASEAN's "fear •, see Pacific Defence Reporter, June 1989, pp . 15, 18. 65 . This is not to say that the SPF possesses adequate capabilities to carry out its intended missions . See U.S. Congress , House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services (1988, pp . 63 - 64) . 66 . The latest defence White Paper maintains that the quality of Soviet forces in the Far East has been improved, despite "peace ' efforts by Gorbachev . See Boeicho (1990, p . 46) . 67. Apparently, the key domestic factor affecting Japan 's future defence policy will be the ability of the conservative coalition to maintain the dominant position it has had in post-war Japanese politics . The current political uncertainty is the main question of this premise. See Asia Defence journal, October 1989, pp. 20-23 . 68 . The Foreign Ministry for the first time inserted a section on "Japan 's security policy• in the latest diplomatic Blue Book, maintaining the need to play a greater security role in the region. See Gairnusho (1989, pp . 6167) .



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PACIFIC STRATEGIC PAPERS Titles in this series include: Pacific Strategic Paper 1 TAl MING CHEUNG Growth of Chinese Naval Power: Priorities, Goals, Missions, and Regional Implications

1990 Pacific Strategic Paper 2

DEREK DA CUNHA Restructuring of Soviet Far Eastern Air Power

1991 Pacific Strategic Paper 3

SUEO SUDO Southeast Asia in japanese Security Policy 1991 Pacific Strategic Paper 4


1991 Pacific Strategic Paper 5

EIICHIKATAHARA japan's Changing Political and Security Role: Domestic and International Aspects