For years we’ve heard opposition Japanese politicians vaguely bemoan the unequal alliance between the US and Japan. Japan should speak up! many have said. Now that the DPJ has won the government and Yukio Hatoyama is the PM, this assertion has been repeated by the government, without explaining what this means. Richard Halloran agrees, and recently laid out ten ways how Japan could achieve an equal alliance with US with some honesty that I expect would make most Japanese policymakers nauseous. Summarized, these ten ways are:
1. Japan should take full responsibility for its own defense and abolish Article 9.
2. Emphasize naval forces to project power into the ocean and defend vital shipping routes, which are largely defended by the US navy.
3. Revise the Japan-US security treaty to oblige Japan to come to the defense of the US just as the US is obliged to help defend Japan.
4. Quadruple defense spending to $200 billion a year from its present $50 billion a year, to bring it up from 1% to 4% of GNP, the ratio in the US.
5. Enlarge the Self-Defense Force to 880,000 men and women from the present 240,000, commensurate with the US’s population-to-soldier ratio. Perhaps resort to conscription to achieve this.
6. Expel most, if not all, US forces from Japan, including Okinawa, and convert the bases to SDF use.
7. Remove the US nuclear umbrella, or extended deterrence, from Japan, and follow what one Hatoyama advisor calls for, relying on a world without nuclear weapons.
8. Take over development of missile defense from the US.
9. Establish a department like the CIA or MI-6 to collect and analyze political, economic and military intelligence.
10. Take the initiative in international negotiations.