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The Global Consortium of Political Analysts

Japan's Evolving Military Posture

Updated: Nov 18, 2023


Photo: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Photo: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

It was over 76 years ago, in May 1947, that the United State demanded that Japan add a provision to its constitution outlawing war as a tool for resolving its international disputes. Accordingly, today its constitution renounces war as a means for the sovereign settling disputes. Indeed, since the end of World War II, Japan has remained focused on economic growth rather than security and defense. With US military bases positioned throughout the country, bilateral security agreements between Japan and the United States (otherwise known as ‘shield and dagger’) allow Japan to remain in a defensive posture while the US maintains the capacity and option to function from an offensive position in the region. With its rapidly evolving military posture, many question the ability for Japan to keep with its constitutional mandate. While Japanese leaders argue that its evolving counterstrike capabilities is in keeping with its response posture, many argue that with its new military acquisitions and innovations, Japan is increasingly positioning itself as an offensive force in the region. This research aims to track the evolution of Japan’s military strength and posture in the region.

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