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Japan’s About Face

With my recent and past posts on the Japanese Self Defense Force, here is an interesting story, “Japan’s About Face,” that looks at the slow but ever changing role of Japan’s Self Defense Force. The PBS program, Wide Angle reports:

Japan’s About-Face is a remarkable window into the shifting role of the military in post-war Japanese society. WIDE ANGLE acquired unprecedented access to the National Defense Academy, Japan’s “West Point.” We follow cadets preparing for a future that may involve overseas deployment, and meet with a group of peace activists on a grueling two month, 750-mile protest march from Hiroshima to Tokyo.

Click here to watch the video.

I also recommend that you listen to Richard J. Samuels, founding director of MIT’s Japan Program and author of Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (2007). discuss  the potential of a more militarily-independent Japan and the topics listed below.

Richard J. Samuels Interview Transcript:

  1. From WWII enemies to close strategic allies
  2. Japan’s pacifist constitution
  3. An asymmetric alliance
  4. Japan’s re-militarization
  5. Changes in the U.S. relationship with North Korea
  6. Threats to the alliance

Click here to listen to the interview.

For those readers that want more information on Japan’s Constitution and Article 9 in particular, Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and its Constitutional Revision Research Project is a great source.

Founded in 2005, the Constitutional Revision Research Project meets to discuss, analyze, and document the process of constitutional revision in Japan. In addition, the project seeks to situate the contemporary process of constitutional revision in the longer historical context of constitutionalism in Japan, and to link data collected about the current process to related historical documents, such as those generated in the course of debate about the drafting of the Meiji and postwar constitutions.

Click here to view the website and obtain some great information. You can also read the Yanai Report on Article 9 and my Japan Times response, Let the SDF Deploy Overseas. Finally, Ampontan writes about Japan’s Limited Liability Partnership for Japan and the U.S. here.

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