Why Japan, Long Wary of Military Power, Is Rethinking Its Posture

Members of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force aim their rifles towards the sky during a rehearsal ahead of a memorial ceremony commemorating those who died during World War II, as they sail past the Sulu Sea, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Emily Wang).
Members of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force aim their rifles towards the sky during a rehearsal ahead of a memorial ceremony commemorating those who died during World War II, as they sail past the Sulu Sea, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Emily Wang).
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In the wake of World War II, the U.S. helped Japan draft a new constitution that forever renounced the use of military force as a means of settling international disputes. Japan has nonetheless maintained a well-equipped military for the purposes of self-defense, even while largely relying on the security umbrella provided by U.S. forces in the region. In a book that came out in April, Sheila Smith, the senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, makes a compelling case that Tokyo is now reevaluating that security posture in response to a militarily ascendant China, a nuclear […]

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