It looks like the United States is supporting an enlarged role for Japan in security and military matters:
The foreign affairs and defense chiefs of Japan and the United States agreed Thursday to revise bilateral defense cooperation guidelines by the end of 2014 so the joint security alliance reflects rising threats in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the “two-plus-two” meeting, in which the participants for the first time in Tokyo involved all the heads of their respective ministries, the four agreed that the guidelines, last revised in 1997 to outline how the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. military should cooperate, must be changed to take into account the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear threats, as well as cyber-attacks and terrorism.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and their American counterparts, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, also confirmed that steps would be taken to reduce the concentration of U.S. military bases in Okinawa.
As if to highlight the irony, when I walked into work this morning, there were two newspapers on the table—the Chosun Ilbo with an article on the front page about the US supporting Japan’s enlarged military role, and the Hankyoreh with a front-page article about Korea delaying the transfer of wartime operational command.
Anyway, in its editorial on the matter, the Chosun Ilbo warned the United States that it would first need to earn the understanding and agreement of nations victimized by Japanese imperialism before it expanded security cooperation between Korea, Japan and the United States. In particular, Washington can no longer be a bystander in Korea—Japan historical disputes. It must clearly convey to Japan what its historical duties are and warn Tokyo against actions that run counter to those duties.
Mind you, the Chosun doesn’t oppose greater tripartite security cooperation. It just thinks a) Korea needs time to convince the people why its necessary and b) the United States needs to lean on the Japanese to play nice. Oh, and Korea needs to consider how to ensure such cooperation doesn’t lead to problems with China. Good luck with that.