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Japan’s Security Concerns in the Context of the G7 Summit

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It can be argued that Japan is one of the most important actors in the Asia-Pacific region. In this context, Tokyo is a critical ally for the United States (US) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Indeed, there are many reasons for this. One of them is the West’s containment policy against China. Another is Tokyo’s economic power. After the US and China, Japan is the third largest economy in the world.[1]

On the other hand, Japan’s geopolitical and geostrategic position makes it perceived as an important ally by the West. Moreover, Japan stands out as a country where the West is increasing its influence due to its historical problems with China and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

In this context, Japan’s increasingly proactive foreign policy with its rising defense and military expenditures has brought Japan and the West closer. As a matter of fact, one of the most critical examples of this situation is Japan’s accession to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent temporary member.[2] Bir diğeri ise G7 Zirvesi’nin 2023 yılında Japonya’nın Hiroşima kentinde düzenlenmesi.[3]

It can be said that this situation brings with it an important advantage such as Japan’s ability to bring its problems and issues to the agenda of the G7 Summit. Therefore, it can be argued that Japan will bring the nuclear threat to the agenda of the G7 Summit.

Moreover, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s decision to take the leaders of the countries participating in the summit to the Peace Memorial Museum[4] in Hiroshima can be considered as an act with a message at this point. On the other hand, it is known that Tokyo aims to develop nuclear weapons with the support of Washington.

It can be argued that the security environment has become increasingly uncertain globally in general and in the Asia-Pacific region in particular. In this context, it can be stated that Japan is seeking a new positioning through the role it is trying to assume at the G7 Summit.

There are two other issues that need to be examined in this context. The first one is China and its rising power. This is because Beijing is likely to accelerate its plans for unification with Taiwan. It can be argued that this has increased Japan’s security concerns and led it to decide to accelerate its defense moves.

Another issue worth examining is how long the US can maintain its power and influence in the Asia-Pacific. This is because the distance between the US and the UK and continental Europe is widening. In short, it can be said that Europe’s consolidation under the US influence is being undermined.

As it can be understood, there is a possibility of the US becoming isolated in its Asia-Pacific policy. On the other hand, the Russia-Ukraine war is still ongoing and is not expected to end in the short term. This, in turn, creates an obstacle for Washington to channel its resources to the Asia-Pacific. As a result, it is questionable whether the US will be able to maintain its power in the region. Therefore, Japan’s security concerns are also increasing.

In sum, although Japan keeps its alliance with the US at the center of its security policies, it does not consider it sufficient for a sustainable security system. It is thought that Japan will pursue a policy of “taking care of itself” in the future. Therefore, it can be predicted that Tokyo will play a more active and effective role in international relations in the near future. It can also be said that regional cooperation will increase.  Although this situation creates a conjuncture beyond the control of the US, it can be said that it will be in Washington’s favor in terms of building an anti-China bloc.

In conclusion, it can be argued that Japan’s proactive foreign policy will continue. However, it can be stated that this situation will continue with a strategy of self-sufficiency rather than a Western-based framework.


[1] “Top 10 Largest Economies in the World”, Business Insider India, https://www.businessinsider.in/top-10-largest-economies-in-the-world/articleshow/70547252.cms, (Date of Accession: 22.05.2023).

[2] “Japan Seeking 2032-33 Nonpermanent Membership of U. N. Security Council”, The Japan Times, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/05/23/national/politics-diplomacy/security-council-membership/, (Date of Accession: 24.05.2023).

[3] “Rising Nuclear-Weapons Risks Overshadow G-7’s Push for Disarmament at Hiroshima Russia’s Brinkmanship and China’s Growing Arsenal Worry U.S. and Allies”, The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/rising-nuclear-weapons-risks-overshadowg-7s-push-for-disarmament-at-hiroshima-222eeaf2, (Date of Accession: 24.05.2023).

[4] “G7 Leaders Confront Spectre of Nuclear Conflict on Visit to Hiroshima Memorial”, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/19/g7-leaders-confront-spectre-of-nuclear-conflict-on-visit-to-hiroshima-memorial, (Date of Accession: 24.05.2023).

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten graduated from Yalova University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations in 2021 with his graduation thesis titled "American Foreign Policy" and from Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty, Department of Foreign Trade in 2023. Gülten, who is currently pursuing her Master's Degree with Thesis at Marmara University Institute of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations, was a student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at Lodz University for a semester within the framework of the Erasmus+ program during her undergraduate education. Working as an Asia-Pacific Research Assistant at ANKASAM, Gülten's main areas of interest are American Foreign Policy, Asia-Pacific and International Law. Gülten is fluent in English.