Contextualising Australia–Japan security cooperation: The normative framing of Japanese security policy
Kersten, R. (2016) Contextualising Australia–Japan security cooperation: The normative framing of Japanese security policy. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 70 (1). pp. 6-23.
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On July 1, 2014, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's cabinet commenced a historic transformation of post-war Japan's security policy by overturning previous interpretations of the constitution's pacifist clause, Article 9. The Cabinet Decision on the Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan's Survival and Protect Its People stated that collective self-defence was consistent with the constitution and, consequently, Japan would immediately develop a more proactive and less constrained security policy. But while this outcome may seem sensible and overdue from a realist perspective of Japan's standing as a mature democratic nation in an increasingly difficult geopolitical situation, the manner in which it is being enacted may seriously undermine the normative legitimacy of Japan's new security identity. In this article, the author examines how Shinzō Abe's administration has attempted to shape the norms surrounding security policy revision in Japan, and how these norms, in turn, have affected or constrained Abe's agency. This is done with specific reference to the external contexts of the USA's ‘rebalance’ policy and the deepening of Japan's security relationship with Australia, with a view to anticipating how normative turmoil might impact on the potential of this relationship.
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