Emmanuel M. Welsh
Abstract: Japan is in a position where its Self Defense Force (SDF) could defend the state with substantially less US support. The most relevant military threat to Japan — China — is unlikely to use military action against Japan due to its strong interdependent economic ties. The Japanese government has been increasing both the defense budget and size of the SDF — Japan’s armed forces are the third largest in the world, according to NATO. Moreover, the Japanese people generally support the lessening of the US military presence. Since Japan is capable of defending itself, the US would also benefit from decreasing its military presence in Japan. A smaller US military presence would decrease domestic spending. Since the US is currently dealing with a stagnant economy and a 14 trillion USD national debt, it is in the US’s best interests to reduce spending where possible. Furthermore, a decreased military presence would signal to China that the US is ready to improve its relationship with the state. Since China is growing to be a global hegemon with or without the US, the US ought to embrace China’s rise instead of challenging it.