Japan has entered into a programme of off-the-shelf procurement and joint development of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems. The impact on US-Japan alliance relations is transformational. This working paper outlines the various strategies that Japan has used in the past to manage alliance ties with the US and to mitigate the alliance dilemmas of entrapment and abandonment. It then demonstrates how the technological imperatives of BMD have dictated a sea-change for Japan in its overall security strategy and closed off its options for hedging against alliance dilemmas. Japan is increasingly being forced to give up the hedging options of non-capacity, technological military autonomy, obfuscation and constitutional constraints. The result is a tighter US-Japan alliance construct and looming entrapment. The working paper then compares the situation of Japan’s attempted management in BMD with that of the UK and Europe more widely. It argues that the UK faces a similar set of risks of entrapment and abandonment over the issue of missile defences. However, the US’s position is buttressed by various technological hedges, and most importantly the role of NATO and EU defence and security cooperation as alternative spaces to be used to manage US power in the post-Cold War period
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