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Japan’s Approach to Maritime Security in Southeast Asia

Posted By admin On May 30, 2013 @ 2:23 pm In Abstracts for 2013, Social Sciences | Comments Disabled

Paul Midford, Professor

NTNU Japan Program

Norwegian University for Science and Technology

Abstract: Maritime security in Southeast Asia has long been a priority for Japanese policy-makers.  Tokyo has, and continues, to address this priority using two primary means: regional multilateral security cooperation and non-military aid in the form of Official Development Assistance ODA, and bilateral aid from the Japanese Coast Guard (Hoanchou) to Southeast Asian states in terms of equipment and capacity building.  Multilaterally, Japan has addressed maritime security issues through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), where Japan has played the primary leadership role in negotiating the 2005 treaty, and subsequently in establishing and funding the Information Sharing Center (ReCAAP ISC) in Singapore.   More recently, under DPJ leadership, and especially during the Noda cabinet, the MSDF has also begun playing an indirect role in Southeast Asian maritime security, but this role remains restricted by legal and politico-historical issues.   The Noda administration also pushed to expand the ASEAN Maritime Forum to include include itself, the US, and other dialogue partners, thereby multilateralizing the South China Sea Dispute.  Nonetheless, barring a major conflict or other external shock, continuity more than change is likely to continue characterizing Japan’s approach to maritime security in Southeast Asia.  Nonetheless, Tokyo’s role, along these established tracks, will increase and become more active, although it will continue to be low-key.

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