Reemergence of Japan and its Regional Implications |
Denied normal statehood as a defeated power Japan is seeking for a return to normal power status. By normal power status, this means an independent foreign policy as well as remilitarisation. As a matter of national security, economic prosperity and domestic politics Japan has slowly but surely embarked on its path towards regaining its status as a normal state if not a great power. Despite deep rooted public aversion as well as institutional constraints in Japan, changing domestic demographics coupled with the dynamic security environment, Japan is set towards remilitarisation and greater foreign activism. Already an economic giant, Japan’s rise or re-emergence will implicate the region intrinsically.
The fluid security environment that Japan faces today began with the end of the Cold War. During the Cold War with the Soviet Union looming at large, Japan pursued the Yoshida Doctrine; focusing on the economy whilst obtaining security bilaterally from the United States with provision of Japanese military bases and generous host nation support. But today’s security environment is much more complicated and dangerous for Japan to solely rely on the United States as its protector. A rising China, hostile Koreans, a resurgent Russia and a waning United States pressures Japan to remilitarise, to be able to fend for itself in case of a conflict. The Yoshida Doctrine of past was anchored in a realist appreciation of the world where the “cheap ride” via the US alliance was at the time the best way to promote Japanese prosperity, as quoted by former Prime Minister Yoshida “prosperity was more important than strength”. 2
Today’s complex challenge of a rising China determined to grow rich and strong (富强), territorial disputes & hostilities with South Korea and Russia, nuclear brinkmanship and threats from North Korea, topped off with strained US-Japan relations almost forces Japan to undertake remilitarisation...