The security environment in Northeast Asia has become increasingly complex since 2013, when Japan last revised its National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG).  The latest revision in December 2018 was the fourth time in the past fifteen years, and it represents a coda for significant defense policy changes that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe engineered during his tenure since 2012, such as liberalizing rules for military equipment exports, introducing a limited form of collective self-defense, and expanding the scope of possible SDF missions, among others.

In The New National Defense Program Guidelines: Aligning U.S. and Japanese Defense Strategies for the Third Post-Cold War Era, a bilateral group of Japanese and American scholars and former defense officials examine the policy implications of the new NDPG. In a collection of papers, they analyze the global changes in the post-Cold War security environment that stimulated adjustments to Japan’s defense policy, identify the common challenges faced by the two allies, and emphasize the opportunities for cooperation between the United States and Japan.

On January 11, 2019, in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Sasakawa USA organized a symposium to discuss the NDPG. Panelists assessed Japan’s policy priorities and defense capabilities through the lens of its newly revised guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Plan. The discussion also considered implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance and regional security in the future. The New National Defense Program Guidelines: Aligning U.S. and Japanese Defense Strategies for the Third Post-Cold War Era brings together viewpoints shared at the symposium.

This article was originally published in Sasakawa USA.