This Note describes the evolution of Japan's defense posture since the 1970s and assesses its consequences for regional security. The author concludes that the changes in Japan's defense posture in the last decade have been modest but significant, with Japan gradually expanding its self-defense capabilities and increasing its support of U.S. defense activities as a member of "the West." From an American perspective these changes are positive, although a number of problem areas need to be carefully managed. The Note concludes with a series of policy recommendations intended to achieve the institutionalization and expansion of the positive trends.
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