US to change Japan command posture to boost deterrence in face China -US envoy

By Thomson Reuters Apr 9, 2024 | 8:13 AM

By David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will have a fundamentally changed military command posture at Japan’s planned new military command center to allow better coordination and increased deterrence in the face of Chinese pressure, the U.S. ambassador to Japan said on Tuesday.

Speaking on CNBC the day before a Washington summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Rahm Emanuel said U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region were coming together in the face of China’s “coercion” and Beijing would end up isolated.

Emanuel said another summit on Thursday would see Biden and Kishida and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos coming together for “a historic trilateral relationship.”

“That combination of changes in both countries will lead to a series of actions that will change the kind of cooperation of the level of deterrence both diplomatically, development wise, as well as on the defense side,” he said.

He referred to a new joint command and control center Japan will open next year and how the U.S. military will interact with that.

“We’re going to fundamentally change the way we have a posture there so we can do a better coordination with Japan and make most of the efforts of bringing deterrence to the theater,’ he said.

He also said that given Japan’s willingness to do defense technology exports, a military industrial council would look at what the United States and Japan could co-produce.

“One of the big challenges we have is our military industrial base is stretched thin, and Japan’s has never been on the field. That’s going to be an additional benefit,” he said.

U.S. officials say Wednesday’s summit with Japan will being a historic upgrade in defense ties between the longtime allies in the face of China’s growing might.

Sources with knowledge of the planning have told Reuters Washington will consider appointing a four-star commander for Japan to match the rank of the head of Japan’s new military headquarters. Experts say a U.S. officer of that rank could lay the groundwork for a future unified Japanese-U.S. command.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Doina Chiacu)