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Japan’s new national security strategy: a platform for further cooperation with the EU?

By Alessandro De Cicco

In this study, Alessandro De Cicco pinpoints the main policy changes in the security architecture of Japan, a pacifist nation which constitutionally renounces war. But as Japan’s recently-adopted strategy testifies, the international community is facing challenges “defining an era”. This policy paper draws conclusions on the topical relevance of the EU-Japan partnership in the security field.

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Policy paper Japan NSS cover Adobe Stock - Anton Balazh
Policy paper Japan NSS cover

💡 At the end of 2022, Japan updated its national security strategy and adopted two other significant documents, the national defence strategy and the defence build-up program.


📌 The new strategy outlines an ever-changing security environment, touching upon the threatening activities of China, North Korea, and Russia. To maintain a free, open and stable international order, the national security strategy calls for necessary reforms on the part of Japan, the most remarkable of which are the debut of counterstrike capabilities and the doubling of defence spending.


🔎 Given its renovated strategic posture, Tokyo is willing to deepen security cooperation with like-minded countries and organisations, including the EU. Similarly, the EU, in its Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific (2021) and the Strategic Compass (2022), regards Japan as a strategic partner with whom to further engage.


📌 To European decision-makers, the study recommends exploring the following areas for intensified security and defence cooperation between the EU and Japan:


  • the Union’s common security and defence policy (CSDP)
  • common maritime engagement in the Indo-Pacific
  • cognitive domain
  • AI in military affairs
  • unmanned assets within joint development programmes
  • defence exports



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