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Great Leaps in Japan's Security Policy in an International Context: The Way Ahead

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Research paper

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After the end of World War II, Japan was reborn as a democratic country. Japan decided to choose the alliance with the United States to guarantee its security. Japan has been building a modest defense capability under the provision of the Constitution of 1946, while firmly maintaining the Japan-U.S. Security arrangements. In an effort to establish the Japan Self Defense Forces JSDF in the early 1950s, the Government of Japan issued the interpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution. This interpretation has prohibited Japan from exercising the right of collective self-defense and has long been the most important premise for Japans post-WWII security policy. During the Cold War period, the first security priority for Japan was to cope with the Soviet military threat. However, a series of epoch-making events in the early stages of the post Cold War period reflected the change in Japans security policy and enlarged the roles and missions of the JSDF. At the same time, the Japan-U.S. alliance entered a new stage of development. The alliance changed its nature from the traditional anti-Soviet focus to an Asia-Pacific-wide security approach. Thus, Japan could no longer be as innocent vis-a-vis its national security and its role in international security issues, especially in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Although dispatching Japans destroyers and supply vessels to the Indian Ocean in support of the coalition campaign against terrorism marked one of the most significant strides in Japans global military role since World War II, Japans security policy may have reached its culminating point. Further efforts should be made so that Japan can fully implement its expected role within the international community. In order to fully participate in future coalition efforts that help ensure peace and stability of the world, Japan should make another great leap and allow itself to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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