For decades after World War II, Japan chose to focus on soft power and economic diplomacy alongside a close alliance with the United States, eschewing a potential leadership role in regional and global security. Since the end of the Cold War, and especially since the rise of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s military capabilities have resurged. In this analysis of Japan’s changing military policy, Andrew L. Oros shows how a gradual awakening to new security challenges has culminated in the multifaceted ”security renaissance” of the past decade. Despite openness to new approaches, however, three historical legacies—contested memories of the Pacific War and Imperial Japan, postwar anti-militarist convictions, and an unequal relationship with the United States—continue to play an outsized role. Japan’s future security policies will continue to be shaped by these legacies, which Japanese leaders have struggled to address.
Japan’s “security renaissance” has enabled Japan’s military to become more involved in the Asian region and global security. Moreover, Japan is the key US ally in Asia, in a new presidential era when the role of allies is being called into question. As the third largest economy in the world and one of the world’s largest military spenders, what role will Japan play in regional affairs and in US Asia policy? Prof. Andrew Oros will seek to answer these questions in relation to his new book, Japan’s Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the 21st Century. This talk will examine the domestic and international factors that led to this change, and what’s next for Japan and the region in an uncertain era.
Andrew L. Oros is Professor of Political Science and Director of International Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. He is author of Normalizing Japan: Politics, Identity, and the Evolution of Security Practice (Stanford University Press, 2008), co-author of Global Security Watch: Japan (Praeger Press, 2010), and over a dozen scholarly articles on Japanese politics and East Asian security. His latest book, Japan’s Security Renaissance, was published by Columbia University Press in February 2017. He speaks frequently about topics in East Asian security to public policy and research institutions and to the global media. He earned his Ph.D in political science at Columbia University.