THE EFFECT OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN ON THE NORMALIZATION OF JAPANESE SECURITY POLICY
Lewis, Christopher P.
Weiner, Robert J.
Chatterjee, Anshu N.
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When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won the 2009 Japanese general election, Japanese security policy was poised to diverge from the status quo of normalization Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that had held power for many decades. Curiously, Japanese security policy seemed to hold its previous trajectory, despite the less conservative DPJ holding power. This research examines three pivotal security policies of territorial defense of the Senkaku Islands, Futenma base relocation efforts, and the funding and uses of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) to better understand the DPJ’s security policy in comparison to the LDP’s. For each policy, internal, external, and political party constraints that inhibited divergence from the established LDP status quo are identified and compared to the LDP for similarities. In doing so, this research finds that while there were many constraints on the DPJ’s ability to follow through with a divergent security policy agenda, the most prominent and uniquely DPJ constraint was the party’s inexperience and inability to lead effectively. Broadly, however, other political parties are likely to be constrained by external security threats and relationships, as these factors were consistent constraints for both the LDP and DPJ.
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