Japanese Security Policy: Commitments, Priorities And Ambitions
The current Japanese government led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzō is undertaking a major reorientation of Japanese security policy. This is largely being done in response to the emergence of a more threatening regional security environment, and especially in response to China's growing assertiveness. But what is the exact nature and extent of the change so far? How are these reforms reshaping Japan’s security priorities, ambitions, and commitments? And do these changes reflect a new strategic consensus in Japan regarding the nature of both the external challenges faced and the internal changes required. In addressing these questions, I outline the overall shape and contour of Japan’s changing security reforms and try to provide a picture of how these reforms link, or fail to link, together. I argue that the reform process so far suggests that, contrary to past expectations of Japanese strategic adaptability, Japan is struggling to come to terms with Asia’s transition from a hegemonic to a contested order.
Dr David Envall is a research fellow in the Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, at The Australian National University. David received his MA from Hitotsubashi University and his PhD from the University of Melbourne. He has held appointments teaching Japanese foreign relations at Tokyo International University and politics at La Trobe University. He is currently a principal investigator for an Asia Security Initiative project supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. David’s research focuses on Japanese foreign and security policy, political leadership, and Asia Pacific security. His recent book, Japanese Diplomacy: The Role of Leadership, was published by the State University of New York Press.
Image by U.S. Pacific Command on Flickr under the CC BY-NC-NC 2.0.