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, …

Japan and Collective Self-Defense: Symbolism and Reality

Written by Corey Wallace. Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), the Abe Cabinet on July 1 announced that it will open the way for the Japanese government to explicitly exercise elements of its UN Charter Article 51-enshrined right to collective self-defense for the first time since independence. While …

Politicisation of Gender Issues in Japan: the “Shiomura Incident”

Written by Misato Matsuoka. Japan has been acknowledged as the country with the largest gender gap in the developed world. According to the 2013 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Japan’s ranking for female equality has fallen from 101st in 2012 to 105th among 136 countries. The report identifies Japan as one of the …

Obama’s Visit to Asia: Successful Rebalancing or Not?

Written by Misato Matsuoka. A lot of emphasis was put on President Obama’s recent visit to Asia as it was the first trip to the region during his second term and came amid concerns about the effect of the Ukraine crisis on the long promised rebalancing policy. After he failed to make his trip last …

Japan’s relations with Russia in the Midst of the Ukraine Crisis

Written by Misato Matsuoka. While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not met the leaders of neighbouring South Korea or China, he has dedicated significant effort to improving ties with Russia. Since returning to power in 2012, Abe has met President Putin five times and participated in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics …

Unofficially Official: The U.S. Rebalance to Asia-Pacific and the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan alliance

Written by Misato Matsuoka & Michal Thim. There is a lot of buzz about U.S. rebalancing policy, but at the end of the day it is not a massive policy change from the U.S. perspective and neither is it one from the perspective of U.S. allies and partners, old and emerging ones, in the region. …