The United States-Japan Security Alliance: Current Status and Future Prospects

Date of Graduation

Spring 1996


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Jack Crouch


This thesis analyzes the current state of the U.S.-Japanese security relationship. It begins with a brief historical overview of the American commitment to the security of Japan, centering on the Securtity Treaty of 1952 and the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security of 1960, that established the basis for the continued presence of the American military in Japan. The purely defensive posture of the Japanese military is shown to be gradually evolving as Japan's Self-Defense Forces commit to, and participate in, various out-of-country operations. This evolution has been encouraged by the existence of three modern threats, China, Northe Korea, and Russia, to the security of Japan and, hence, to the alliance. Current challenges to the alliance, including the recent FS-X aircraft development project, the controversy surrounding Okinawa, and the possible BMD co-production project, are examined to portray the difficulties presently facing the alliance. These case studies are the basis for examining the likely future of the alliance and possible alternatives it could take. This thesis concludes that the alliance is likely to change only incrementally, to include a modest increase in Japan's defense burden, for reasons of internal Japanese politics, intra-alliance dynamics, and East Asian politics.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Jason John Ingebrightsen