Japan's Economic Power and Security: Japan and North Korea by Christopher W. Hughes

By Christopher W. Hughes

Is Japan re-emerging as a regular, or perhaps a nice, army energy in neighborhood and worldwide safety affairs? This Adelphi Paper assesses the final trajectory of Japan’s safeguard coverage over the past decade, and the influence of a altering eastern army posture at the balance of East Asia. The paper examines Japan’s evolving defense debate, set opposed to the historical past of a transferring foreign surroundings and household policymaking method; the prestige of Japan’s nationwide army features and constitutional prohibitions; post-Cold struggle advancements within the US Japan alliance; and Japan’s position in multilateral neighborhood safeguard discussion, UN PKO, and US-led coalitions of the prepared. It concludes that Japan is certainly relocating alongside the trajectory of turning into a extra assertive army energy, and that this development has been sped up post-9/11. Japan is not going, even though, to channel its army energy via tremendously diversified frameworks than at the present. Japan will choose the improved, and doubtless inextricable, integration of its army functions into the U.S. Japan alliance, instead of pursuing recommendations for higher autonomy or multilateralism. Japan’s reinforced position because the protecting protect for the offensive sword folks energy projection will merely serve to reinforce US army hegemony in East Asia and globally.

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Even Ozawa Ichirō, at present the most vocal advocate of an enhanced military role for Japan, acknowledges the importance of economic power. Ozawa sees economic power functioning in the service of Japanese security in two ways. First, a contribution is made to Japanese and international security due to the fuller participation of Japan in and stabilisation of the global economy. Second, economic power is viewed as giving the Japanese government policy instruments with which to deal with specific security problems that may arise in the post-Cold War world.

Moreover, a Japanese domestic political crisis has emerged over renewed opposition to US bases in Okinawa. Since the return of Okinawa to Japanese administration in 1972, around 60 per cent of the 37,000 US troops in Japan have continued to be stationed in Okinawa, with US bases accounting for close to 10 per cent of the total land area of the prefecture. The necessity of this high concentration of US forces in Okinawa came into Japan’s economic power and security 14 question with end of the Cold War, and long-term frustration in the prefecture regarding its disproportionate burden of bases reached a critical point with the incident of the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three US servicemen in the prefecture in September 1995.

Japanese policymakers are generally optimistic about the prospects for stability in the region due to growing economic interdependence and the progress of government-level multilateral security dialogue through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). 44 In addition, although Japan’s exclusively defence-oriented (senshū bōei) posture means that it tends to eschew the direct and public designation of particular states as threats to national security, policy-makers remain concerned about the possibility of interstate rivalries in the region which could generate nuclear, conventional, and low-intensity conflicts.

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