China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations
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China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations

Primacy and Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Michael Heazle and Andrew O’Neil

One of the most pressing policy challenges for Australia and Japan today is ensuring that China’s rise does not threaten the stability of the Asia-Pacific, while also avoiding triggering conflict with their largest trading partner. This book examines how Australian and Japanese perceptions of US primacy shape their respective views of the Asia-Pacific regional order, the robustness of Asia’s alliance system, and the future of Australia-Japan security cooperation.
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Chapter 6: US leadership in maritime Asia: a Japanese perspective on the rebalance and beyond

Satoru Mori


From Japan’s perspective, US leadership legitimacy depends not only on the reaffirmation of existing treaty commitments and the level of actual military presence, but also on the extent to which the United States is willing to take on the risks and costs of enforcing shared rules and norms in the region and beyond. During the Obama administration, the United States enhanced its forward military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region to deter aggression, but refrained from directly deterring China’s paramilitary unilateral actions in the South China Sea. The United States thus was seen to exhibit a more hegemonic style of leadership that involved selective and shared rule enforcement rather than its more traditional primacy-based leadership role characterized by greater US responsibility in underwriting the rules and norms that underpin the region’s liberal order.

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