Japan's Constitution, prospects for change : impact on U.S. presence in Japan
Duke, Stephen E.
Olsen, Edward A.
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Constitutional research committees in both the upper and lower houses of the Japanese Diet have begun discussing Article 9 of Japanâ s constitution. Japan traditionally has interpreted this article as prohibiting collective defense, including joint military operations with U.S. forces and collective security activities like UN peacekeeping operations. These discussions respond to changes in the security environment surrounding Japan, where collective self-defense is becoming increasingly vital. This thesis suggests that it is not a matter of if but when Japan will revise or reinterpret its constitution to authorize Japanese forces to participate in collective defense. To support this argument, it analyzes the evolutionary process Japan has pursued since the end of the Cold War to become a â normalâ country. For Japan to become a â normalâ country, it must implement significant economic and political reform. Based on this requirement this thesis evaluates the prospects for change by analyzing the internal and external forces driving Japan to revise its constitution. It then discusses various approaches and policy options Japan may pursue. It evaluates the most probable approach Japan may take and the impact such an approach may have on U.S. force structure in Japan. Finally, this thesis presents the U.S. debate over forward basing versus forward presence to assess the approach the United States should take toward force structure in Japan. This thesis argues in favor of Japan becoming an equal partner in the U.S.-Japan alliance. It concludes with recommendations on how the United States should respond and suggests several approaches the United States should take toward Japan, arguing that it is in both the United Statesâ and Japanâ s interest for it to assume an equitable burden sharing role in the U.S.-Japan relationship.
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