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Japanese defence production, national security and alliance relations in the 21st century

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posted on 04.11.2014, 16:50 by Gavan Patrick Gray
As a result of constitutional restrictions on its use of military force, Japan has long held a reputation as a pacifist state. Yet, for more than twenty years, it has been undergoing a steady process of normalization that has seen these restrictions gradually removed or bypassed. At a time when Japan is moving toward a more proactive security policy this thesis examines the important effect procurement choices have upon both its strategic options and its regional relations. This study examines the development and structure of Japan's defence industry, assesses the threats it is required to address, and gauges the impact of domestic and foreign influence upon security policy. In addition, it raises important questions regarding the nature of Japan's strategic direction and the lack of open discussion of areas of significance. In particular, it looks at the failure of weapon choices to become more than an economic issue, despite the far broader impact of the choices made. It also considers the extent to which the threats faced by Japan have been accurately assessed, and the possible implications of narrow adherence to the US-Japan security alliance. Finally the thesis helps to address a long-standing gulf in Japan's academic community which has seen liberal academics largely standing removed from discussion of security policy on ideologically pacifist grounds. By showing that the possible choices in security policy are far broader than commonly perceived, this thesis allows and encourages a more open and active debate on Japan's future role, both in East Asia and internationally.



Phythian, Mark; McCormack, Tara

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Department of Politics and International Relations

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University of Leicester

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