Japan's Security Concerns and Policy Responses

Arpita Mathur is Associate Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • July 2006

    Japanese foreign policy and security perceptions have undergone a perceptible and steady change over the past decade, especially under the leadership of former Prime Minister Koizumi (2001-2006). Its support for the US war on terror was a significant step in its growing international politico-security profile. Japan’s security perceptions in this period have been shaped by two distinct factors: hard security concerns that flow from the rising power and influence of China, and the uncertainties in the Korean Peninsula, especially in regard to the North Korean nuclear and missile programmes; and those that emerge from its quest for assured energy supplies from abroad and security of its large maritime interests as a trading nation. In the past five years it has sought an active international role to deal with its emerging security challenges, and a greater influence on global institutions that deal with security issues. Japan’s quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the changing role of its Self-Defense Forces abroad, the ongoing
    attempts to revise the Constitution, its active participation with the United States in the ballistic missile defence programme, and its search for new strategic partners in Southeast Asia and India –all indicate a fundamental shift in security policies and its emergence as a ‘normal state’.

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