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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 17 - 23  > Japan-US ‘2+2’ talks confirm strengthening of alliance to counter China’s growing influence
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2021 March 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Japan-US ‘2+2’ talks confirm strengthening of alliance to counter China’s growing influence

March 17, 2021

The foreign and defense ministers of the Japanese and U.S. governments on March 16 held a meeting of the Security Consultative Committee, so-called "2-plus-2" talks in Tokyo.

The two-plus-two talks which took place less than two months after the inauguration of the new U.S. administration aims to strengthen the bilateral alliance to counter China’s growing influence.

The joint statement released after the bilateral talks expresses serious concerns about China’s passing of the controversial Coast Guard Act. In the statement, the two governments confirmed that the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in Okinawa are covered by Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, expressing their opposition to “any unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo or to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.”

Meanwhile, the statement emphasizes “the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” as well as the need to put a check on China’s movements in the South China Sea. This means that Japan may play a part in U.S. military operations focusing on China which has nothing to do with the defense of Japan.

In this regard, it is highly likely that Japan will be required to accept the deployment of land-based medium-range missiles on its territory and to support the U.S. military’s Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), a naval strategy aimed at China. This strategy includes the deployment of U.S. units, which are equipped with long-range missiles targeting Chinese warships and military aircraft, to the Nansei Islands in Japan, a chain of islands stretching from southern Kagoshima nearly to Taiwan.

Along with the strong anti-China stance, the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the need for an expansion of Japan’s military role in the Indo-Pacific region and an early completion of the new U.S. base project in Okinawa’s Henoko district.
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