Japans Self Defense Forces After the Great East Japan Earthquake Toward a New Status Quo
Hiscock, Kyle W.
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The Great East Japan Earthquakes unique scope and the actors involved in the ensuing disaster dispatch has the potential to significantly impact four areas influencing the SDFs trajectory security interests, economic interests, norms, and actors and institutions. Retrenchment, status quo, and remilitarization are all plausible outcomes for the SDFs trajectory. Understanding what the disasters changed in these four areas is critical in determining the most probable SDF trajectory. This thesis finds that the SDF will not likely embark on a retrenchment or rapid remilitarization trajectory. Japans security and economic interests have not fundamentally changed but rather economic trends in place prior to the disasters were aggravated and its security policy was validated. Japans norms were the most fundamentally changed as the SDF emerged from the disasters as the most trusted institution in Japan. Changes will be limited to the fringes of the status quo bordering remilitarization as numerous disincentives restrain the SDF from rapidly moving toward remilitarization. These changes will come about from a growing sense of economic and security pragmatism that results in engaging rather than containing the SDF. Improved civil-military relations, more public support for the SDFs expanding domestic and international roles, and more deference for the SDF as a useful tool of the state will characterize this new status quo.
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