Recent and ongoing shifts in Japan’s military security – both domestic and in relations with other countries – are once again stirring the debate about whether Japan’s security posture is set for radical change. Japan’s recent policies towards North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Iran and Afghanistan as well as new security issues suggest, however, that change is continuative. Increased investments in the military field go hand in hand with an en-hanced government posture in economic security, both positively by supporting sustainable development and stability in the region and negatively in terms of (aid) sanctioning. While hedging against a rising China and a retreating United States, Japan is not shifting away from its long-time policy of comprehensive security. Military security is slowly broadened, but not at the expense of the close links between economics and security that have characterized the Japanese approach of the postwar period. Ongoing developments in Japan’s security posture are thus a change in tactics rather than strategy.
ISPI Research Fellow