Japan’s Views on AUKUS

By Yuka Koshino

Over the almost two years since its historic announcement, the AUKUS agreement has elicited a broad range of regional responses. While some countries have welcomed the strategic alignment that AUKUS brings, others share concerns over increased regional instability, the emergence of antagonistic security blocs, and nuclear proliferation.

To guarantee the security that the pact promises, Australia and its fellow AUKUS partners will need to understand the region’s perspectives.

This series is designed to provide insight into regional responses to AUKUS, two years on. It will delve into the concerns, qualms, and avenues for opportunity in seven Indo-Pacific countries, through the eyes of regional authors.

The fifth report in this series by Yuka Koshino, Research Fellow for Security and Technology Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, explores Japan’s response to the AUKUS pact.

Japan has largely embraced the AUKUS pact as a new coalition to counter Chinese assertiveness in the Indo Pacific region.

However, while Japan welcomes strategic alignment among AUKUS countries, it is concerned about the growing Chinese narrative that equates the Quad and AUKUS to an ‘Asian NATO’. It wants Australia to help counter these narratives, especially in Southeast Asia.

There is opportunity for Japan to engage with AUKUS, especially through its second pillar. However, it is yet to be convinced by the gains the partnership offers and institutional barriers remain a significant roadblock to cooperation.

As Japan’s closest strategic partner after the US, Australia has a major role in keeping Tokyo informed of AUKUS activities and, in doing so, help encourage future Japanese involvement.

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