Japanese National Security Policy

Domestic Determinants

by Paul Fritz Langer


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Japanese defense policymaking is constrained by the psychological-political atmosphere of postwar Japan. The popular attitude toward military power remains essentially negative, because of (1) doubts regarding the utility of military power to Japan; (2) concern about a revival of militarism; and (3) the conviction that Japan need not fear aggression if it does not provoke its neighbors through rearmament and military alliances. The success of Japanese postwar policy emphasizing economic and social development rather than national power also tends to militate against a radical change in national priorities. The nature of the Liberal-Democratic Party and the Japanese decisionmaking process, based on consensus and compromise, as well as the role of the business community, discourage drastic reorientation of Japanese defense policy. If no major changes in the international environment occur, therefore, existing psychological-political constraints will pose effective obstacles to any rapid quantitative or qualitative rearmament of Japan.

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