Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and Sino-Japanese relations

Written by Karl Gustafsson. On 14 August, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his long anticipated statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. For months, scholars and pundits have speculated about whether Abe would use words such as “apology”, aggression and regret. Would the statement reflect the revisionist views that he has …

Don’t Blame Abe…Help Him!

Written by Zhiqun Zhu Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been portrayed as a staunch nationalist bent on revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution. From visiting the Yasukuni Shrine to his claim that “invasion” is not clearly defined internationally, from pressuring McGraw-Hill to revise a history textbook, to beefing up Japan’s military power, Abe has repeatedly demonstrated …

ISIS and Abe’s security agenda

Written by Sebastian Maslow. Japan was shocked by the killings of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and security consultant Haruna Yukawa by the terrorist group known as ISIS. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has moved fast to link the hostage crisis to his security agenda envisioning a more militarily proactive Japan. In the eyes of …

Tokyo expands its options beyond the US-Japan alliance

Written by Alex Calvo. When discussing Japan’s ‘normalization’ as a military power, one of the aspects we need to consider is Tokyo’s growing range of security and defence agreements with countries other than the United States. While not a replacement for the US-Japan Alliance, which remains the cornerstone of the country’s foreign and defence policy, …

Abe’s Cabinet Reshuffle: Implications for Collective Self-Defence Legislation

Written by Corey Wallace. The July 1 cabinet declaration was a critical symbolic change in how the Japanese government conceptualises the spheres of action the Self-Defense Force can (and should) operate in to uphold the security of Japan. Previously the SDF was required to wait until a direct attack on Japan started to take place …

Interpreting Japan’s right to collective self-defense

Written by Kei Koga. The Abe administration’s reinterpretation of the right of collective self-defense on July 1, 2014 has become the center of political attention both domestically and internationally. Although there are many focal points revolving around the re-interpretation, the core of the debate stems from two basic questions: why did the reinterpretation need to …

Japan’s Security (R)evolution

Written by Sebastian Maslow. Since his comeback as prime minister in December 2012, Abe Shinzo has vigorously pushed for a redesign of Japan’s security system. As such he has proposed to ‘take Japan back’ from its constraining post-war regime and to restore a ‘strong Japan’ capable of deploying its military forces overseas in support of …

Abe Faces China

Written by June Teufel Dreyer. When Shinzō Abe took over as Japan’s prime minister in  September 2012, he became the seventh occupant of that position in the preceding six years. Abe had himself been the first of those, resigning after scarcely a year in office.  Understandably, there were doubts about how long his second try …

The Democratic Deficit of Collective Self-Defence in Japan

Written by Rikki Kersten. When Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet decided on July 1st to revise the interpretation of the pacifist clause of Japan’s constitution, commentators in Japan and around the world took notice. Those who argued the move was long overdue called it ‘historic’.[i] Those who found the move disturbing employed the language of alarm, …