By Lian Degui
Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported on April 12 that each member of AUKUS, the newly established trilateral security partnership among the US, UK, and Australia, had informally asked Japan about the possibility of it joining AUKUS. Actually, there have continuously been voices from the Japanese government advocating participation in AUKUS, which believed that Japan should cooperate with the Anglo-Saxon countries to contain China and meanwhile take the opportunity to strengthen Japan's military strength. Some even argued that Japan should abandon its exclusively defense-oriented policy to advance its attack capability at enemy military bases. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe even proposed the idea of nuclear-sharing with the US .
However, whether the AUKUS security partnership can absorb Japan is a complex issue, not as simple as some Japanese right-wing forces have assumed.
Aside from Australia, the UK and the US, limited by geographical factors, adopt the offshore balancing geo-strategy to contain the rising countries of Eurasia. The US appeared to pick up the pieces and reap a position of dominance at the end of the two world wars. During the Cold War, the US formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to contain the Soviet Union and planned the eastward expansion of NATO to contain Russia after the Cold War. In all, the US has been trying to avoid direct involvement in military conflicts in Eurasia.
In the eyes of the US, countries including Japan, related countries along the South China Sea, and India, etc., are potential forces to contain China. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy is but to provoke conflicts between China and its neighbors in this region, aiming to contain the rise of China by its neighboring countries.
Considering the strategic conception and accustomed practices, when conflicts arise, the US will not fulfill its commitment to its so-called allies' or partners' defense at first; instead, it tends to consume China's strength with these countries. As for the interests and even survival of these countries, it is not something that the US would consider.
For those military conflicts instigated or provoked by the US in the Asia-Pacific region, the US has always supported its allies by means of sanctions, arms exports, public opinion warfare, and information warfare, etc.
Although the Japanese right-wing forces are quite familiar with the strategic means of the US, they have always had an obsession to get rid of the post-war system, that is, to finally get rid of the shackles posed by the US and become an "ordinary country". The US geo-strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is also seen as an opportunity that can be exploited by the Japanese right-wing forces. If the US decides to "let the tiger return to mountains", Japan can "rearm" itself.
No matter what security mechanism Japan participates in to contain China, Japan can only play the role of a proxy war participant for the US with no real assistance obtained from the US, once it gets involved in a war designed by the US. If Japan aids in any military operation aiming at threatening China, it will only end up inviting trouble and becoming a victim of the US strategy.
(The author is the director and professor at the School of Japanese Studies , Shanghai International Studies University)
Editor's note: This article is originally published on huanqiu.com, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.