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  • Japan's Self-Defense Forces: Towards a Normal Military

    The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are one of the variables of the distinctly pacifist security policy Japan has followed ever since the end of the war. Japan's ongoing 'normalisation' involves an enhancement of the role and functions of these forces. Although the SDF's role has considerably increased in the past decade, it cannot be characterised as Japan's remilitarisation because of strong domestic and external checks.

    September 2007

    Energy Security in Asia: The Necessity of Interdependence

    The central thesis of this article is that the Asian energy consumers would serve their interests well if they look again at their energy frontiers and define them within the contours of Asian energy interdependence rather than triggering an Asian energy race. The three leading Asian consumers, China, Japan and India, are principal actors in the Asian theatre, and their needs, assessments and policies are going to be central in defining the regional energy security agenda. Their current approaches have placed them more as competitors, which could trigger conflict situations.

    May 2007

    Security of Sea Lines: Prospects for India-Japan Cooperation

    Ensuring access to crude oil and natural gas forms a crucial component of India's security calculus. It also critically underlines the significance of sea transportation through which much of these vital resources are traded. With India virtually insular in terms of its land communications, its trade interests are increasingly focused on the maritime domain.

    January 2007

    Japan's Contemporary Nationalism: Trends and Politico-Security Drivers

    Contemporary Japanese nationalism is the principal force behind Japan's gradual shift towards 'normal' statehood and what has been called as 'reluctant realism'. The nature and content of this nationalism is, however, very much dissimilar to that which characterized its militarist past. This nationalist streak is largely elitist and assumes softer undertones as it percolates down to the masses.

    January 2007

    The Japan-China Joint Communiqué

    China and Japan issued a joint communiqué in Beijing on October 8 during the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first foreign visit, vowing to promote strategic relations between the two countries in the coming years. Both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Abe hailed the visit as a positive turning point in Sino-Japanese relations. Abe's visit to China is politically important since it is the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries in the past five years.

    October 19, 2006

    Japan's Response to North Korea's Nuclear Test

    The recent nuclear test carried out by North Korea in defiance of warnings by the international community has significantly raised Japan’s security concerns. The test conducted on October 9, 2006 made Pyongyang the second nuclear weapon state in North East Asia after China. It was carried out in the backdrop of already heightened tensions in the region following a set of multiple missile launches by Pyongyang on 5 July 2006. The missiles which had plunged into the Sea of Japan, had even evoked calls for preemptive strikes from a section of the political and defense establishment in Tokyo.

    October 2006

    History and Power Shift Fuel Sino-Japanese Rift

    On August 15, 2006, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly protesting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Koizumi’s six consecutive visits since he took office in April 2001 have chilled Sino-Japanese relations, making the issue a major stumbling block in the smooth development of relations. The souring of Sino-Japanese relations over the last few years has been a result of the complex enmeshing of two broad issues: history and power shift.

    August 23, 2006

    Japan's Security Concerns and Policy Responses

    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.

    July 2006

    Japan-China Rift and East Asian Security

    The feud between the two Asian giants is getting shriller. No sooner China had announced its 'peaceful development' policy through a White Paper than the Japanese foreign minister voiced his concern about the 'considerable threat' that Beijing posed. The latest spat in the running battle of charges and counter-charges is the controversial suicide by a consular staff in Japan's embassy at Beijing. The frosty relationship between the two countries is bound to cast a big shadow over the entire East Asian region in the coming years.

    January 05, 2006

    Elections in Japan: Koizumi's Gamble Pays Off

    Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – which has dominated Japanese politics for the past fifty years, swept the recent snap polls called by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in August this year. The outcome of the elections has significant implications for Japan’s domestic as well as foreign policy. The extraordinary mandate that Koizumi received established him as the undisputed leader, giving him the green signal to move ahead with his proposed reforms. The LDP garnered as many as 296 out of the 480 seats in the Japanese Diet’s Lower House.

    July 2005