Japan's bid to tighten military cooperation with Australia is only the latest of the giant strides it has made in the past three years in becoming a full partner in building collective security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted Malcolm Turnbull, his Australian counterpart, for defense talks on Jan. 18, has reinterpreted Japan's constitution to take a more proactive stance for defending the country in conjunction with its allies.
He has loosened rules restricting Japanese defense exports; he has taken a strong stance in response to the North Korean missile threat; and for the 2018-19 financial year he has announced Japan's biggest military budget since World War II.
There is, however, one big step still to come. That is creating and maintaining a robust security regime for the defense industry that protects national and intellectual property, and will help Japan to work more closely with the U.S. and other allied nations in developing and producing advanced defense systems. Unless Japan's allies believe it has installed effective protections and protocols to stop Russia, China, North Korea, or even a random hacker from stealing classified data or foreign intellectual property, they will be reluctant to share their most sensitive technologies with their counterparts in Japan."
By taking the right steps, the Abe government could oversee a change as transformative as the adoption of Total Quality Management by Japanese manufacturing in the 1960s and 70s, which triggered the Japanese economic miracle and made Japan a dominant competitor in the international industrial marketplace. (end of excerpt)
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