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The Chrysanthemum and the Shield. The Pacific Theatre Missile Defence and its consequences on the alliance between the United States and Japan.

Matteo Dian
Università di Bologna
Matteo Dian
Università di Bologna
Open Panel

Abstract

The nuclear policy of the Obama administration is based on two main axes. From one hand, we assist to a genuine effort to negotiate a reduction of the nuclear arsenals and to an authentic attempt to enhance the non proliferation regime. To the other hand, recent documents released by the Pentagon, as the Ballistic Defense Missile Review Report and the Nuclear Posture Review, highlight how the Administration considers the construction of the ballistic defense a strategic priority, particularly in East Asia. In the proposed paper, I will discuss how the making of the Theatre Missile Defense affects the US role in East Asia, the general balance of power in the area and the bilateral relation with Japan. For Japan, the participation to the TMD represents indeed a major step towards the “normalization” of its security strategy and towards the definitive overcoming of its traditional postwar restraint. It contributes, indeed, to redefine the Japanese role in the alliance, enhancing the interoperability of forces and promoting a unified chain of command and control. These developments are likely to encourage Japan to play a role of “hub nation” and active junior partner in the integrated in the US-led military apparatus in East Asia. Moreover, the emphasis on missile defense could have a destabilizing effect on the strategic equilibrium in the area, inducing China to accelerate the modernization of its strategic arsenal.