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Japan's Grand Strategy

Courtesy Reuters

The strategic transformation of Europe and the multiple crises in the Soviet Union will profoundly change Japan's security environment. The retrenchment of Soviet forces confronting NATO has given new political meaning to the Soviet forces facing Japan.

As Soviet territory spans half the globe, America and its allies confront in Asia the same adversary as in the center of Germany. Communism's collapse in Eastern Europe, and its decomposition in the Soviet republics, is likely to undermine rulers in Pyongyang, Hanoi and Beijing. Before long, Mikhail Gorbachev may launch arms control initiatives aimed at Japanese and U.S. forces in the Pacific, perhaps even by opening negotiations on the return of Japan's Northern Territories.

Japan's security strategy is still shaped and circumscribed by its alliance with the United States. Soon, however, the purpose and nature of that alliance will be affected by the changes in Europe. The need to adjust the

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