Japan’s post-WWII regime: a roadblock to ‘JAUKUS’

By Ryosuke Hanada

Since the announcement of the AUKUS trilateral security pact in 2021, there has been much speculation surrounding the possibility of its growth beyond Australia, the UK, and the US.

At the forefront of candidates for this expansion is Japan, whose addition would make ‘JAUKUS’. Reasons for this include its geopolitical role in the Indo-Pacific, its solid alliance with the United States, its membership in other security partnerships, and its capability to enhance AUKUS’ technologically focused Pillar II.

However, before JAUKUS could be formed, AUKUS members would need to carefully consider the roadblocks within Japan’s domestic laws, especially those regarding arms transfer and anti-espionage. These obstacles must be addressed if Japan wishes to join the defence pact.

Executive Summary

  • Japan is a natural strategic choice to expand AUKUS Pillar II because of its advanced manufacturing and defence capabilities.
  • However, its restrictive arms transfer regulations and weak anti-espionage laws rooted in post-WWII pacifism mean JAUKUS isn’t yet a realistic possibility.
  • Japan’s security environment is increasingly tense. Tokyo should work hard to amend these laws to enable Japan’s potential to contribute to more defence technological partnerships, especially AUKUS

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