The EastWest Institute brought together retired four-star generals and admirals from Japan and the United States for the inaugural “U.S.-Japan Military-to-Military Dialogue” on September 25-26, 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The dialogue provided a high-level platform for both sides to collaboratively address issues of critical concern at a time of increased uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The U.S.-Japanese alliance has long been a pillar of the United States’ Asia-Pacific strategy, and the countries maintain a close bilateral military relationship. However, recent developments on the Korean peninsula and the uncertainty of U.S. foreign policy under the Trump administration have engendered concern about the resiliency of the alliance. Given the current security environment and political landscape, neither side can afford to be complacent. The two partners as well as the whole region have much to gain from innovative policy ideas that strengthen U.S.-Japan bilateral ties and policy coordination,” said General (ret) T. Michael Moseley, head of the U.S. delegation.
During the dialogue, delegates delved into a wide range of security issues within the U.S.-Japan relationship, the feasibility of further confidence building measures, as well as other regional and global security issues, particularly the strategic intentions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. These in-depth exchanges, in addition to separate meetings with senior Japanese diplomats and regional military officials, will serve as a platform for generating innovative solutions to strengthen bilateral cooperation. The outcomes of the dialogue will be used to formulate concrete policy recommendations for the governments in Washington and Tokyo, and will be shared among regional military commands. EWI plans to hold the dialogue biannually going forward.
Building on EWI’s track record in organizing Track 2 dialogues, the “U.S.-Japan Military-to-Military Dialogue” is a key piece of ongoing efforts to build trust and deliver solutions among the United States and critical players in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2008, EWI has organized the annual Sanya Initiative that brings together retired military officials from China and the United States. Including and drawing on Japanese perspectives in such discussions will not only help bridge the gaps in tackling common challenges but also identify creative solutions to mitigate friction between key regional players and engage the whole Asia-Pacific region.