|US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addresses soldiers|
Much has been said in recent months about the so-called U.S. “pivot” to Asia, a rebalancing that, though often discussed, remains surprisingly hard to define. However, one key component of Washington’s strategy seems to be taking shape and could gain sharper focus in coming weeks: a new, expanded and more flexible role for Japan’s military.
With U.S. and Japanese armed forces currently conducting a major joint exercise across Japan and in the Pacific, the two governments announced this weekend that they had agreed to consider revisions to the defense cooperation guidelines that, since 1978, have served as a basis for how the two countries address defense matters of common interest.
Since the guidelines were adopted, Japan’s security situation — in fact the entire region — has undergone a dramatic transformation.
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.