JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Defending Japan: Reviewing the 2018 White Paper

Titli Basu is Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • October-December 2018
    Volume: 
    12
    Issue: 
    4
    Commentaries

    Three key developments unfolded in Japan in August 2018: the Ministry of Defence (MOD) released its annual Defence White Paper; requested a 2.1 per cent increase in the 2019 budget; and instituted an Exploratory Committee on the Future of Self Defence Forces (SDF) with the objective of reviewing the current National Defence Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the Mid-Term Defence Program (MTDP). The subsequent consolidation of political strength in September 2018 at the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) presidential election extended Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s tenure till 2021. Analysing these developments in the backdrop of Prime Minister Abe’s top priorities—managing the United States (US)-Japan alliance under the Trump Presidency and delivering on the ‘great responsibility’ of redefining Japanese post-war security orientation—unpacks Tokyo’s key challenges. These are, essentially, balancing between sharing greater burden within the alliance framework to ensure regional security on one hand, and weighing regional sensitivities and deeply fractured domestic constituencies on the other.

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