Report

About face: Japan's remilitarisation

21 Mar 2009
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This report describes the transformation of Japanese security policy, legislation and force structure in recent years by which Japan has sought to become 'a normal country' as 'Heisei militarization'. As a consequence, Tanter argues, that status of 'normal', as with comparable countries like Britain and France, "involves the capacity and willingness to consider the use of force to settle its international disputes." The difficulty with Japan's contemporary remilitarisation, Tanter concludes, is that "like the characters in director Stanley Kubrick's final film, Japan may well be proceeding, waking but dream-like, into its chosen future with its eyes wide shut. Both nationalist and realist variants of a post-Yoshida doctrine tend to be confident about their ability to manage the inevitable vicissitudes of a new muscular foreign policy. Yet that confidence may prove misplaced, with serious consequences for both Japan and its neighbours."

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2009
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