Japan and Estonia face severe geopolitical challenges to their security that both nations owe to the ambitions and actions of China and Russia, two authoritarian state powers. Russia’s full-scale military attack on Ukraine has not only dramatically changed the security environment in Europe but also has made its impact felt in the Indo-Pacific. Thus, strong defence and deterrence—and the alliances underpinning them—have become of utmost importance in both regions.
On 7 December, the ICDS held a webinar where the Japanese and Estonian experts exchanged their perspectives and insights on the common endeavours to strengthen the full spectrum of deterrence in north-eastern Europe and the Indo-Pacific. How to continuously deliver deterrent effects upon the minds of those who threaten us? What mix of capabilities and what kind of messaging must be put together? How to weave together deterrence against hybrid, conventional, and even nuclear threats? How to ensure strategic partnerships and alliances always remain viable and effective? These and other questions the speakers at the event aimed to address.
From Japan, Tatsuo Kotani, a professor of Global Studies at Meikai University and senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, provided a broad and evolving strategic picture by outlining the overall military threat environment in the Indo-Pacific and the evolution of Japan’s security and defence policy in response to it. Professor Yoko Iwama, a director of Strategic Studies Programme at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, discussed the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the security in the Indo-Pacific and lessons for Japan. Sugio Takahashi, a head of Defence Policy Division at the National Institute for Defence Studies, defined the detailed contours of Japan’s defence policy and posture, its capability development priorities, and the U.S. role in strengthening defence and deterrence in the region.
From the Estonian side, Tony Lawrence, a head of Defence Policy and Strategy Programme at the ICDS, spoke about national and collective endeavours to strengthen defence and deterrence on NATO’s north-eastern flank. Henrik Praks, a senior analyst at the European Centre of Excellence on Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki, discussed hybrid threats in the region in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the perspective countermeasures.
It was the third webinar designed to exchange Estonian and Japanese perspectives on various topical issues and aspects of security, defence, and international affairs. Two prior events explored cybersecurity policies and European ties with the Indo-Pacific area. The webinar on defence and deterrence will be followed by a report to be published by ICDS in the spring of 2023.
Watch the full video of the webinar: