Expanding Japan-Europe Defense Cooperation: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance: Summary of a November 2021 Conference

The expansion in recent years of key European nations’ security dialogues, agreements, technology exchanges, and overall defense cooperation with Japan has attracted growing attention. This growing attention, in turn, elicits several important questions. What factors are motivating leading European nations (such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) to engage more actively in the Indo-Pacific region in partnership with Japan? Which particular areas are these actors focusing on in their defense ties? What explains the patterns of commonality and difference across the countries? How does Japan regard such cooperation? What view does the United States take of this trend? And what are the potential implications for the United States and the policy questions that closer Europe-Japan defense ties raise?

To explore these questions, the RAND Corporation convened a virtual conference that brought together European, Japanese, and U.S. defense experts in November 2021, and these conference proceedings capture the insights that they developed. Overall, the authors capture substantial details about the development of deeper French, German, and British defense ties with Japan; the factors motivating the expansion of such connections; their implications for the United States; and the prospects for their future development, as well as several potentially helpful policy considerations.

This research exchange was sponsored by the Government of Japan and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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