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date: 01 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter revaluates the utility of militarization as a framework for comprehending Japan’s changing military stance, and to challenge many current analyses that portray Japan’s security trajectory as one of essential continuity. The concept of militarization assists in identifying those military components—institutional and ideological in nature—present in all societies, including Japan, which are subject to contestation and alteration and open the way to substantive change in military security policy. The first section of the chapter outlines Japan’s self-declared and self-imposed constraints on its military posture in the immediate postwar and Cold War periods to establish the baselines against which any shifts toward remilitarization can be evaluated. The sections thereafter systematically assess these baselines and the degree of subsequent shift in the post–Cold War and contemporary periods—in terms of legal and constitutional constraints on military power, procurement of new military capabilities, increases in defense budgets, civil-military relations, the export of military technologies, and external and alliance military commitments. The concluding section, in assessing the overall trajectory of Japan’s military posture, and arguing that there has been substantial change rather than continuity, then considers the interrelationship with and challenges for the quality of Japanese democracy.

Keywords: Japan, remilitarization, constitution, civil-military relations, defense budget, US-Japan alliance, security policy, military power, democracy, military exports

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