I'm unsure if there will be tea and cookies served.
Allowing Japan to participate is a means of giving China a little something to think about as tensions continue to flow unabated between the two Asian powers, particularly over China's island building in the South China Sea.
Call it saber rattling.
I'm a firm believer that although it's true everyone wants to destroy their enemies, there is that little voice inside each leader's head that doesn't want to be known as the idiot that started WWIII.
It's the Cold War all over again.
In anticipation, 40 Japanese soldiers will joint the 30,000 U.S. and Australian troops in early July of 2015 in war-game drills. New Zealand is also sending 500 flightless birds/kiwi troops.
Now, don't fret… it's not JUST everyone getting together to rattle their sabers, this Talisman Sabre biennial exercise held around Australia IS meant to show China that Japan isn't alone in defending itself.
What are 40 Japanese men going to do? It's not like they know how to serve green tea!
Basically, the U.S. wants to get its allies more involved. If there is going to be a conflict (non-nuclear), why should it just be American boys and girls coming home in a box?
I mentioned China's island building earlier… yup, China is creating seven artificial islands in what is known as the Spratly archipelago - which just so happens to be a key shipping corridor… so if anything is traveling through it, China will know.
If these islands placed out there belong to China (it's in international waters, but by constructing an island and laying claim to it, does it become the property of China?) then it has just increased it's property line… it's sea property line.
It's brilliant in concept, actually. Just brilliant.
Here's the South China Sea problem…
After continually arguing with Japan over some island ownership (Japan says it owns it, but China says it was taken illegally from it due to Japanese aggression 150 years ago), while continuing with that argument with flybys… China is now constructing islands to increase it's ownership of the sea… which means it's now closer to the borders of other countries.
While China may (or may not) impose sea and air restrictions in the Spratlys (you can't travel on or above the area) which will include at least ONE military airstrip, China isn't doing so at the moment… it just claims the right to do so (an Air Defence Identification Zone).
Japan will hang out with the U.S. (slut), while the Aussies and Kiwis will play well together probably because each has the greatest chance of understanding one another. I said 'chance'.
The Australians and Japanese are already all palsie-walsie, as the land of Oz cites Japan as the front-runner to supply it with its next-generation submarines - a move the U.S. wholeheartedly supports.
U.S. assistant secretary of defense David Shear notes that one of the goals of this Talisman Sabre war-games is to work with its allies "to strengthen maritime security in Southeast Asia, and to explore technology cooperation."
Hopefully there won't be anything further to report on this.
Wait... this just in... China has just held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a pair of lighthouses in the South China Sea.
Broadcast on state television, the ceremony was glorious, of course. What else could it have been? Nothing, you Imperial dog!
China, of course, continued to thumb its nose at countries such as the Philippines and U.S., who have asked China to stop fanning the flames.
All confused-like, China smartly doesn't understand what all the hubbub is about saying that building the lighthouses will help any maritime search and rescue event (after China sinks trespassers in their waters), provide quicker disaster relief (we have Kool-Aid for you to drink), not to mention environmental protection (we will protect this land!) and navigational security (despite all of our ships having the highest tech available, there is still a chance they could run into these islands if we don't have a lighthouse warning them... plus, if we shut off the light - snicker-snicker - maybe one of those foreign dogs might run their ship aground - and then we can rescue their booty.)
Personally, I think China's island building idea is brilliant... but there is nothing stopping anyone else from doing the same. North Korea now has a plan it just came up with all by itself that was stolen by China.
Banzai (or perhaps better yet - NO 'banzai'),
PS: The image above is from the CLASSIC movie War Games… while the technology involved is very dated (the manner of computer hacking), conceptually this could be easily revised for the 21st century. Maybe create a different ending? Interested writing partners - shall we play a game?