Japan 2040: A stark appraisal
By Kerry K. Gershaneck
29 July 2021
Japan boasts the third largest economy in the world, is the most powerful American ally in Asia and geographically its archipelago forms the largest land mass in the strategically crucial “First Island Chain.” Thus, Professor Kerry Gershaneck’s study “Japan 2040” is indeed a “stark appraisal” for those concerned with American security and the resilience of Asian democracies in the face of accelerating Chinese aggression.
He starts with a primer on Beijing’s “Three Warfares” concept, which integrates psychological, legal and media elements to form a comprehensive political warfare strategy. In the Japanese case this includes coopting the elite classes, leveraging international friendship organizations, penetrating educational institutions, and using military intimidation tactics known as “gray zone operations.”
Gershaneck’s intimate knowledge of Chinese Communist Party organizations gives a unique window into the mechanics of their propaganda, media, and intelligence operations. He also explains how China would use the “Three Warfares” to their advantage once a kinetic war has started.
Gershaneck’s warning in the form of a bleak yet realistic depiction of 2040 Japan’s strategic situation should serve as a cautionary tale for thinkers and policymakers who assume the United States is immune to these same tactics.