Briefing Paper

Project: Asia Programme

John Swenson-Wright
Is Japan Truly Back?
  • Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan's 'dynamic defence' doctrine will remain at the heart of security policy, with a focus on North Korea and China's more assertive regional defence posture.
  • US–Japanese ties will remain strong, but will be supplemented by a stress on a broader range of new security partnerships with states such as India, Australia, Russia and the Philippines.
  • Democracy promotion and a broad concept of 'security' encompassing resource security, energy needs and traditional peace-keeping initiatives will be key features of Japan's foreign policy.
  • Institutional change, including the establishment of a reinvigorated National Security Council and constitutional changes to allow a more flexible role for the armed forces will be a core goal.
  • Success in promoting security goals will depend on the continuing improvement of the economy, a strong performance by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the July parliamentary elections, continued close cooperation with its conservative allies, and an ability to defuse tensions with key regional partners, especially South Korea.