Enhancing Basic Governance: Japan's Comprehensive Counterterrorism Assistance to Southeast Asia   [open pdf - 112KB]

"Japan's support for counterterrorism in Southeast Asia (SEA) partly reflects its commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance, but is also part of a wider strategy for enhancing its political and security role in the region. Japan's focus has been to develop a comprehensive set of initiatives aimed at enhancing SEA countries' basic governance capabilities in areas such as law enforcement, export control, money laundering, anti-piracy, air and sea port security, immigration ration control and proliferation of WMD. Due to domestic political constraints, Japan's contributions in the area of counterterrorism emphasize non-military means of cooperation. Japan's constitutional ban against collective defense continues to be cited as an obstacle to Self Defense Force participation in counterterrorism (CT), but this has not hindered cooperation in civilian law enforcement, including Coast Guard cooperation. Recently, the Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) has begun to cautiously expand its CT efforts. Bureaucratic turf battles inside SEA countries receiving Japanese aid can be a problem for CT cooperation with Japan, especially when the domestic law enforcement role is partly shared by the military. Japan's aid is greatly appreciated by Southeast Asia's least CT-capable states, such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Nevertheless, SEA remains a laggard in terms of ratifying the twelve UN counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. Because of the limitations on Japan's military, its programs aimed at cooperating with Southeast Asian countries in various subfields of CT are perceived by some Southeast Asian countries to be less threatening than programs initiated by the United States. Japan's CT programs are, however, still in their initial stages and continue to evolve. Assistance to Southeast Asia is quantitatively insufficient, and redundancies among aid givers are not yet a problem. As quantity of aid increases, however, donor consultations and coordination between Japan and the"

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