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Strengthening Germany-Japan Security Cooperation: An Examination of the Trends, Reasons, and Challenges

Author: Weijing Xing

Source: Global Perspectives on Japan (GPJ), No.6 (2023), pp.70-99
Publisher: Forum Tauri Press
Keywords: Germany, Japan, security, cooperation, foreign policy, Germany-Japan relations


Despite being the world’s third- and fourth-largest economies, political partners sharing democratic values, and important security allies of the United States, Germany, and Japan security ties stayed limited for a long period. However, since 2020, against the background of Germany’s adoption of policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region and the formation of Germany’s new government, GermanyJapan security cooperation has been strengthening. This article aims to examine the trends of, the reasons behind, and the challenges to strengthening Germany-Japan security cooperation. The first section of this article explains the concepts of “security” and “cooperation” and then examines two trends that characterize bilateral security cooperation. The two trends are the increasing frequencies and contents of high-level communication regarding security affairs and the expansion of cooperation areas ranging from traditional security issues to nontraditional security issues. The second section explains three reasons at international, bilateral, and domestic levels that have contributed to the strengthening GermanyJapan security cooperation. The reasons include Germany’s security-economy dilemma with China, Japan’s issue-linkage tactic towards Germany, and Germany’s domestic preference structure in favor of the value-based foreign policy. Before drawing the conclusion, section three identifies challenges to Germany-Japan security cooperation in the future, which include China’s foreign policy toward Germany, Japan’s foreign policy toward Russia and China, and Germany’s shifting policy for the Indo-Pacific.