In December 2013, Japan published its first National Security Strategy and established a National Security Council (NSC), which has its own national security advisor to the Prime Minister. The NSC is staffed by around 60 officials from the Foreign and Defense ministries. Proponent of these changes argues that regarding the security-political development in the region, Japan finally takes its responsibilities seriously (see also Peter Layton, “Japan’s first National Security Strategy“, The Strategist, 15.01.2014). Critics raise concerns that Japan could return to its militarist past. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s bold move in visiting Yasukuni shrine, on the anniversary of his first year in office didn’t really help to dissipate these concerns (see also J. Berkshire Miller, “How Will Japan’s New NSC Work?“, The Diplomat, 29.01.2014).
In the 50th episode of Sea Control, Natalie Sambhi, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), talks with Dr. Tomohiko Satake, a fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies in Tokyo and visiting fellow at ASPI, and Dr. Benjamin Schreer, a senior analyst in defence strategy at ASPI about the reinterpretation of the Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which allows Japan to exercise the right of “collective self defense”.
(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. — Article 9 of Japan’s constitution.
Both analysts discuss the drivers behind this reinterpretation, the implications of Japan’s new white paper, and relations with China and Australia.
Listen to episode #50 immediately
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