Japanese Use of Force: Refinement & Normalization Amid Growing Regional Instability

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Image credit: JSDF

Policy Update

by John C. Wright, Major, USAF
August, 2016

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Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Recent regional security challenges in the East Asia/Pacific have spurred a number of new Japanese national security legislations and the establishment of new institutions to strengthen the national security apparatus. While there is no consensus on the true extent of these changes, what remains clear is the Japanese government is reacting to regional security challenges via changes to its national security policy. As a state that has abstained from utilizing force, as well as threatening to use it, as an instrument of national policy for the last 70 years, is Japanese statecraft showing signs of "normalcy;" that is, returning to a condition whereby the government will consider the use of force as a tool of national policy? This paper will explore this question from a Japanese national policy perspective and will examine where the future of Japanese security policies may lie in the East Asia/Pacific region.

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Disclaimer 

The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense. In accordance with Air Force Instruction 51-303, this research paper is not copyrighted but is the property of the United States government. 

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Illustrations 

Figure 1: Incremental Transformation of the Yoshida Doctrine, 1954-2007
Figure 2: Interest in Defense Issues Public Opinion Poll, 2009-2012
Figure 3: Japanese Public Impressions towards the JSDF, 2009-2012
Figure 4: Public Opinion on Military Capabilities, 2009-2012
Figure 5: Changes in Support Rate for the Abe Cabinet, 2012-2015
Figure 6: Defense Budget Trends, 2001-2015
Figure 7: Japanese Defense Spending Trends, 1955-2015 

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Preface

For 70 years, Japan has conducted an experiment in statecraft. This experiment is characterized by a diminutive military relative to its economic power, reliance on a great power for its national defense, sensitization of the population to the evils of warfare and violence, and a complete absence of a national policy that utilizes threats and the use of offensive force in pursuit of national interests. The use of force is the most conspicuous outlier in this experiment; despite multinational agreements and international law attesting to the opposite, among the world’s major nations, only Japan has publicly and practically renounced its sovereign right to utilize force in international affairs on behalf of the state except in cases where it is clearly the victim of aggression. Not only is this refusal a characteristic of post-war Japanese policy and popular sentiment, it is also strictly enshrined in the Japanese constitution, as penned by the American victors. What, then, are we to make of the first-class military Japan has developed in the face of these restrictions? And why does Japan possess some of the best weapons the world has to offer, but lacks the corresponding national will to use them? The answers lie in the monumental factors that comprise Japanese security: the legacy of the Pacific War1, Japanese government policy, and of course, the Japan-US Alliance, to name a few.

It was upon encountering this dichotomy some years ago that I became interested in defense policy from Japan's perspective. The reality has always been quite clear: despite its pacifist constitution, Japan today possesses Asia's greatest and most high-tech navy, its most capable ground and air forces, an active and dependable Coast Guard, and by far Asia's most professional military organization. Yet at the same time, the Japanese Self Defense Force (自衛隊/jieitai) (JSDF), a moniker many consider to be a euphemism, is little more than a special police force whose members are at times outcasts within their own country. An amalgamation of old Reserve Police Force traditions, security laws, weapon use regulations, rules of engagement, high-tech equipment, and hand-tying constitutional and political limitations, the JSDF is at once both unique in the world and inadequate for the task it suddenly must accomplish: deter a burgeoning Chinese military regional footprint and an increasingly erratic North Korean military regime from threatening Japanese national interests.

While the US-Japan alliance remains strong, following the Cold War the need to re-balance it in the face of these growing threats has led Japan down a road towards defense normalization: a path slowly meandering towards full sovereignty, including use of force calculations in national policy deliberations. This change may be occurring faster than Japan would like; the newest defense legislation allowing for collective defense operations under certain conditions places more burden on the JSDF but grants no new authority, and at first blush seems to indicate defense policies and military forces will operate under a "business as usual" mindset. Then again, one could examine the new security legislation as a sign of political will to normalize defense policies, and represents a break with post-war military expectations.

It is important to remember that should Japan choose to utilize force as a national policy tool, it is not correct to say Japan is trying something new, but rather returning to a policy that is in tune with the community of nations; it was not long ago that Japan considered force as a fully functional instrument of national power. It is also important to remember the Japanese have decided for themselves to restrict their own sovereign rights of their state to utilize force; this is unique among nations and deserves further analysis if we are to discover just where Japanese use of force will go in the near future.

Many thinkers and groups contributed immensely to this paper, and I remain in their debt as I continue down the long road that is regional and Japanese affairs specialization. These people and organizations include Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University Japan in Tokyo; Mansfield Fellow alumnus Captain Mike Bosack, USAF, for being forced to listen to my rambling thoughts; Colonel Kenji Shimizu, JASDF, for deepening my Japanese cultural understanding and sake appreciation; the Temple University Japan library staff; The National Institute of Defense Studies, both for allowing me to be the first Mansfield Fellow allowed within their walls and for granting me access to their outstanding researchers and library; Mr. Yoshihide Matsuura, for accepting yet another extra duty by shepherding me around NIDS; the Government of Japan, without whom I would never have had this phenomenal research opportunity; Professor Eiichi Katahara, for always being ready to answer my political questions; Major General Hirofumi Onishi, JGSDF, for our English lessons and military brotherhood; the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Fellowship Foundation and Staff, without whom none of this would be possible; and lastly my family, whose patience I continually test during late-night international relations activities over sake.

"BAR NONE"

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Introduction 

I conclude, therefore, that no principality is secure without having its own forces; on the contrary, it is entirely dependent on good fortune, not having the valor which in adversity would defend it2.

—Nicolo Machiavelli
The Prince

On the cold night of December 22, 2001, a small fishing vessel bearing Chinese markings made its way unannounced into Japanese territorial waters. Attempting to keep a low profile, the vessel was discovered by the Japanese Coast Guard and closely resembled ships previously used by North Korea for clandestine activity. After ordering the unknown ship to stop for inspection, the Coast Guard fired warning shots at the vessel. Much to their surprise, their fire was returned in the form of submachine guns from the opposing crew. A full-scale skirmish broke out between the Japanese Coast Guard and the unknown vessel, with the two combatants exchanging machinegun and small arms fire. The Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat blasted the offending vessel with machinegun rounds and soon a fire erupted in the stern; the mysterious intruder returned fire and wounded three Japanese sailors. Three more Coast Guard vessels joined the fray and surrounded the now-enemy ship; but before boarding operations could commence, the vessel began to sink, apparently due to Coast Guard gunfire but later determined to have been scuttled by its own crew.3

The skirmish, popularly referred to as "The Battle of Amami-Oshima" after the nearest island located between the southernmost island of the Japanese mainland, Kyushu, and Okinawa, represented the very first use of force for national defense by Japan since the end of World War II. The offending vessel indeed turned out to be a North Korean spy ship, and items recovered from the wreckage along with the peculiar equipment found on-board clearly proved its purpose and its North Korean origin. The incident, allegedly tipped off by American intelligence, sparked a number of positive outcomes for Japan: they received an apology and promise from North Korean leader Kim Jong Il who stated "This will never happen again," and the North Koreans took the further step of disbanding the 1500-personnel unit in charge of the spy boat operation.4 Whether or not North Korea took this action due to this incident or based on the increasing perils to operations now that American intelligence was watching is unclear, but this response by the Japanese armed forces is an extremely rare event from a nation that has foresworn armed activity and even armament itself.

This incident is the clearest Japanese post-war example of the use of force—an instrument of national policy Clausewitz called "a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means."5 Uniquely, the Japanese constitution and defense policy make no allowance for the use of force at all; besides being strictly prohibited, using coercive action to achieve national interests is not even under discussion in academic and military circles. How, then, do the Japanese view the use of force? In responding to changes to the East Asia/Pacific security environment, is Japanese statecraft normalizing? This paper will explore these questions from a Japanese national policy perspective and will examine just what Japan thinks about the use of force and its place in the increasingly dangerous Pacific region.

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Historical Background

Beginnings of Normalization: The Reverse Course

Post-war Japan was a busy place. Beginning in September 1945 with the Allied Occupation, the Japanese started down their long road to national recovery with seemingly everything a high priority all at once: urban reconstruction, repatriating Imperial forces, dealing with food shortages, rebuilding the government, and many other pressing concerns. The Japanese themselves, demoralized and defeated, began to feel the full weight of the war's consequences; a national feeling of hatred and shame about the war boiled over in expressions of national sorrow and, what some would term "a certain amount of masochism."6 It was in this hectic and idealistic atmosphere that American General Headquarters Japan (GHQ) officials and their reluctant Japanese government counterparts promulgated the Japanese constitution of 1947, a document heavily influenced by the occupiers' demilitarization and democratization objectives, in hopes "Japan would never again become a menace to the United States and world peace."7

The immediate result was an idealistic and unrealistic constitution prohibiting all manners of armament, war material, and even the existence of armed forces of any kind, best represented in Article IX of the Japanese constitution:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.8

GHQ ordered Japanese armed forces demobilized, destroyed their weapons, ensured repatriates were discharged, shut down war industries (and broke up the infamous zaibatsu industrial-financial conglomerates), and tried and executed Japanese war criminals.9 The idealistic notions in the constitution formed the basis of Japanese post-war defense policy and thought, and would prove stubbornly inflexible as the twentieth century continued to unfold. As an exhausted world still reeled from years of punishing combat and economic privation, Japan looked positively to a potential future without war and conflict; never again would they wish for a wartime experience like the one they just suffered, nor would they wish such an experience on any other nation. The newly-minted "One Country Pacifism" mindset was firmly enshrined in the national psyche.10

But reality intervened. On June 25, 1950, against the backdrop of increasingly sour relations between the Soviet Union and the United States, North Korea invaded South Korea. In response to this event, the US occupation forces stationed in Japan were sent to fight in Korea, and the conflict prompted Japan's Supreme Commander of Allied Powers General Douglas MacArthur to create the 75,000 man Japanese Police Reserve Force.11 Immediately confronted with the unconstitutionality MacArthur helped to create, the Police Reserve Force12 was intended to be as military as possible without violating Article IX and its prohibition against armed forces; thus began the post-war tradition of constitutional interpretation that gave rise to the Japanese defense apparatus and the de-facto Japanese military, the Self Defence Forces (JSDF), known as jieitai (自衛隊) in Japanese.

The creation of this police unit by fiat was seen as a sudden and surprising move to rearm by the Japanese; to them, it was contrary to the both the constitution and the policies crafted by GHQ during the preceding five years, and became known as "The Reverse Course." In truth, this was the very first occasion of Japanese "normalization," which in this context means Japan returning to the community of nations as a fully functional, independent state complete with a sovereign right to use force. Understanding this concept of "normalization" is important; during the post-war years, a focus on economic growth, reliance on the United States, and the pacifist constitution have left defense professionals flummoxed as Japan relinquished some of its sovereign rights recognized by international law in return for complete dependence on US protection and goodwill. 13 This policy has remained remarkably rigid even to this day. The roots of this policy, and its consequences, can be found in Japan's postwar economic pursuits.

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Emphasis on Economic Growth 

A nation which was less than a decade before a sworn enemy was now "viewed by the United States as an ally and a crucial forward base of operations in Asia and the Pacific."14 This naturally came with pressure from the US to rearm Japan as US national security policies became more focused on strategic deterrence in the Pacific. Nevertheless, Japan found itself unable to normalize its defense policies, not only due to the constitution and pacifist mindset but also due to a hard-headed statesman named Yoshida Shigeru, Japan's prime minister (who served from 1946 to 1947 and 1948 to 1954) during talks

Figure 1: Incremental Transformation of the Yoshida Doctrine, 1954-2007

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with the United States in 1951. During these talks, US negotiator John Foster Dulles demanded Japan shoulder more of its defense burden, but Yoshida refused on three grounds: fears of Japanese militarism in Asia, a pressing need for economic recovery, and terrible memories of the devastating consequences of the Pacific War.15 His policy to put economics first came to be known as the "Yoshida Doctrine," and had far-reaching consequences.

The first of these consequences was a chronic under-funding of the JSDF and the national defense apparatus.16 Stretching further into the twentieth century, defense spending was sacrificed upon the altar of economic recovery even after Japan had notably recovered from the war's devastation. In particular, in 1976 the Miki administration set a limit to defense spending amounting to 1 percent of GDP. This cap, enacted well after Japan had become an economic superpower and over ten years after Tokyo hosted its first Olympic games, remained in effect until the Nakasone government abolished it in 1986.17 In practice, defense spending has never gone above 1.1%, and this limited funding has only served to push Japan away from normalization.18 Second, under-funding defense was a continual obstacle to a strong strategic relationship with the United States, who increasingly saw an economically strong Japan refusing to pay for its own defense. Indeed, US Secretary of Defense Schlesinger remarked in 1975: "Japan has so far been a too passive partner….On the American side, also, it has been increasingly recognized that there should be more balanced roles allocated in the security relations."19 In other words, US diplomats and Department of Defense officials did not believe Japan possessed a military comparable to its actual economic power, thus hampering US strategic deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region. In reality, these US diplomats did not understand the cultural and psychological pressure facing Japanese government officials when it came to how they and the electorate viewed war, violence, and defense, best represented by the piecemeal and haphazard assembly of an adequate armed force, eventually known as the JSDF.

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Grudging Normalization: the JSDF 

Despite the Yoshida Doctrine's thundering silence on defense issues, regional security realities forced defense normalization to continue, albeit in a minimal fashion. In a secret message to negotiator Dulles on February 3, 1951, Prime Minister Yoshida agreed to establish "security forces, land and sea, totaling 50,000,"20 the beginnings of what came to be known as the Japanese Self Defense Forces. In addition, to administer this new cohort the National Safety Agency was established in August 1952, and the aforementioned 50,000-man force known as the National Security Force came to life in October of the same year.21 These two organizations were promptly treated as pariahs and effectively barred from national defense discussions for a full two decades, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took a leading role in defense policymaking vis-à-vis diplomatic discourse with the United States.

The fact that the JSDF exists deserves some explanation. Article IX of the Japanese constitution clearly prohibits "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential,"22 and when the National Security Force was born in 1954 debate raged regarding its constitutionality.23 Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, whose father graduated from Yale and was a noted legal scholar and politician and whose grandson served briefly as premier in 2009-10, solved this problem in 1954 by using a novel constitutional interpretation. Article IX, it was said, did not prohibit the universal right to self-defense, thus an armed force established to explicitly and exclusively utilize this right was not considered unconstitutional.24 It is this fundamental problem—interpreting the constitution to fit current security demands, but refraining from passing a constitutional amendment—which has set a precedent and created the most controversy regarding Japanese defense policies. It has also been the greatest obstacle to Japanese statecraft normalization and political will to use force in the post-war period.

The JSDF continued a slow climb to legitimacy during the second half of the twentieth century to the form it takes today. However, Japanese defense normalization via the JSDF faces considerable hurdles founded in post-war Japan's antimilitarism culture, which is "one of the most striking features of contemporary Japanese politics and has its roots in collective Japanese memories of the militarist takeover in the 1930s and the subsequent disastrous decision to go to war with America."25

This antimilitarist culture has had significant consequences for the JSDF. The JSDF's public image problem essentially amounts to an issue of trust; owing to the Japanese people’s haunting memories of the war and its military government, "many Japanese have long viewed the JSDF with distrust and disdain, if not overt hostility…."26 This hostility has resulted in JSDF personnel being subject to slurs like "hikagemono" (social outcasts), and the overly ungrateful "zeikin dorobo" (tax thieves)27. Japan's overwhelmingly post-war pacifist population, combined with mass media, mandatory primary school "peace education," and an overall perception that Japan is safe due to its pacifism and geography, combined to place JSDF personnel in a category all their own: an unnecessary appendix of a war-torn past.

This all changed in the 1970s. Owing to the government's initiatives and pressure from the US to assist in deterring the Soviet military threat, Japan began to take steps towards normalization which necessarily required JSDF legitimization. First, Defense Agency Director (Japan’s de facto Minister of Defense) Michita Sakata helped formulate the National Defense Program Outline (NDPO) and the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, documents that pointed the way for military program development and acted as a basis for cooperation with the US.28 Similarly, Prime Ministers Masayoshi Ohira, Zenko Suzuki, and Yasuhiro Nakasone all contributed greatly to Japan's growing defense normalization in the 1970s and 1980s, specifically in directing critical changes to Japan's defense policy and strategic planning. From these efforts, the prestige of the JSDF began to rise as the government at last articulated its defense posture and roles and missions of the JSDF. In 2007, the Defense Agency was promoted to the full-fledged Ministry of Defense, and politicians like the Defense Minister began to play a larger role in defense policymaking as they began to wrest control from bureaucratic domination and develop its own home-grown senior Ministry of Defense (MOD) officials.29 The Defense Ministry's legitimacy became exceptionally clear in the 1990s when it began to play a leading role in Japan-US security arrangements, the traditional purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.30

Through it all, JSDF officers continually interfaced with their American counterparts, sometimes without the government's knowledge. This contact led to greater defense procurement, capability growth, new mission sets, and a greater role in policymaking. Uniformed JSDF officers, previously shunned from any government deliberation, were welcomed onto the Subcommittee on Defense Cooperation (SDC), subordinate to the far-reaching Japan-US Security Consultative Committee, popularly known as the "2+2."31 Military exercises with the US increased in scope and size, and studies on joint defense planning began to appear under the auspices of the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation. After adding UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and maritime minesweeping to their repertoire, the JSDF began to emerge in the international spotlight—though small in number—and took on a more legitimate form. We can therefore see a gradual and continuous normalization of Japan's armed forces, and when combined with policy normalization, paints a picture describing how Japan thinks of its ability to use force. The use of force, however, remains unclear and largely unaddressed in current Japanese security policy.

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Current Japanese Security and Defense Policy

Ideals and Reality: The Two Pillars of Defense Policy 

There is no question the constitution was promulgated with lofty ideals in mind, especially from GHQ staff charged with its drafting. But there is more to Japanese defense policy than simply the constitution. In fact, Japanese defense policy can be broken into two main "pillars." The first is the Japanese constitution, which ideally represents Japanese defense as it is desired to be: pacifist and toothless. From Article IX comes the policy known as senshu boei, (exclusively defense-oriented policy), which is taken from a number of interpretations: first from a literal reading prohibiting offensive action, then from the Hatoyama administration's 1954 interpretation that "in the event of armed attack, to desist and block that attack is self-defense, which is essentially different from settling an international dispute."32 This interpretation derives from the constitution not addressing self-defense at all, hence it must be permitted.

The second pillar is the Japan-US Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, signed in 1960.33 An updated version of the Japan-US Security Treaty34, this document represents responses to security realities; through it, Japan receives its defense guarantee and nuclear deterrence from the United States, from which all other security arrangements derive. The treaty is much more malleable than the Japanese constitution, and when combined with additional defense agreements, is surprisingly responsive to a changing security situation. It does not, however, provide for any guidance regarding the use of force.

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Japan’s Policy Framework  

In addition to the above, Japanese defense policy takes its form via a number of treaties, guidelines, and agreements, primarily between Japan and the United States, to achieve what has been called a "second-best" defense strategy.35 While a "first-best" strategy might represent a solid domestic defense establishment and the capacity to use force to achieve national objectives, because Japan lacks these defense capabilities it resorts to co- opting a great power. In this sense, "the US-Japan alliance is therefore much more powerful than the constitution in guaranteeing Japanese liberal democracy."36

It is notable that the first significant non-treaty agreement, the National Defense Program Outline (NDPO), was adopted on October 29, 1976, almost a full two decades after the Japan-US Security Treaty came into effect, revealing the post-war Japanese preoccupation with economic growth at national defense's expense. This document, spearheaded by Defense Agency officials Michita Sakata and Takuya Kubo, took the critical step of organizing the JSDF around kibanteki boeiryoku (standard defense force) as opposed to the previously-utilized shoyo boeiryoku (required defense force).37 What this meant was deliberate force development away from a previously vague configuration with unclear missions towards a standing JSDF capable of "repelling limited and small-scale aggression."38 Most importantly, this reprioritization represented a tentative step towards normalizing Japanese defense policies.

The next major agreement passed was the landmark Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation in November 1978. Revised in 1997 and again in 2015, the Guidelines represent "an institutional framework for joint defense planning and close security consultations" between Japan and the US. 39 This document represents major cooperative agreements by both nations strictly on defense topics.

The Japan Security Consultative Committee, also known as "2+2," represents several major breakthroughs in Japanese defense policy. It first took form in December 1990 when the US upgraded its participation in the committee from the US ambassador and the chief of US Pacific Command to the US secretaries of state and defense, reflecting an order of magnitude increase in importance.40 In addition, this was the first major ongoing diplomatic committee where JSDF uniformed officers' opinions were solicited, raising the JSDF’s stature and consequently that of the Defense Agency. Thirdly, due to the Defense Minister's prominent role in the deliberations and also to the presence of his American counterpart, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was essentially elbowed out of the discussion; cutting edge defense agreements would from then on be in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lastly, the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), adopted on December 17, 2010, represents a Japan seriously facing its security situation. While fundamental defense policies are unchanged, the NDPG calls for six new features to normalize the Japanese defense apparatus: a national security council-like body at the Prime Minister's office to rapidly address emergent defense threats (established in 2013), a "Dynamic Defense Force" concept that supersedes the previous static defense concept of the JSDF, a bolstered Japan-US alliance via mechanisms for more regular policy review, a shift in security focus to the southwest islands, an emphasis on multi-layered security operations, and a promise to formulate a defense production capability and procurement strategy.41

These agreements and policy deliberations clearly demonstrate a normalizing policy structure, but conspicuously lack any mention of use of force. Moreover, despite these policies, US presence remains the most important stabilizing force in Asia; according to policy experts, "Asia and Korea really notice the US; it's extremely stabilizing and prevents anyone from taking any drastic action."42 Thus, a closer investigation of the normalization process and incentives for normalization is needed to thoroughly understand Japanese use of force and defense normalization.

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Defense Policy Normalization

Clear Signs 

The above policy changes demonstrate two main "phases" of Japanese defense policy and apparatus normalization. The first phase, beginning with bureaucratic efforts in the 1970s and lasting until the early 1990s, saw national policy clarification, JSDF legitimization, and the beginnings of public consensus on defense issues. The second phase, beginning in the 1990s and lasting until the 2015 collective security legislation, has seen civil-military relations improvement, a power shift from the bureaucracy to politicians, JSDF professionalization, increased US-Japan cooperative defense, and Japan's post-war military debut on the world stage.43

The basics are now in place; Japan possesses its fundamental defense strategy and a professional military force, but still lacks strategic objectives: items of vital national interest for which the state is willing to use force to protect. While Japan has seen some success in legitimizing the JSDF by clearly delineating their roles and missions, stronger incentives to change are necessary to push normalization further. 44 Several recent incentives are visibly driving Japanese defense policy and use of force to become more refined.

Incentives for Change  

The first of these incentives are external crises. Despite the Japanese government's risk-averse political allergy to military matters, several crises in the 1990s forced defense normalization responses.

The first was the 1991 Gulf War, a case study that accurately revealed Japan's adolescent defense apparatus. The Gulf War represented the first major challenge to international peace and stability following the end of the Cold War, and Japan found itself torn between its adherence to pacifism and its public pledges to contribute to international security.45 Moreover, Japan began receiving intense pressure from its ally the United States to join the coalition against Iraq, more often than not by the president himself who frequently contacted Japan's prime minister directly. In the end, Japanese attempts to cobble The first of these incentives are external crises. Despite the Japanese government's risk-averse political allergy to military matters, several crises in the 1990s forced defense normalization responses.

The first was the 1991 Gulf War, a case study that accurately revealed Japan's adolescent defense apparatus. The Gulf War represented the first major challenge to international peace and stability following the end of the Cold War, and Japan found itself torn between its adherence to pacifism and its public pledges to contribute to international security.45 Moreover, Japan began receiving intense pressure from its ally the United States to join the coalition against Iraq, more often than not by the president himself who frequently contacted Japan's prime minister directly. In the end, Japanese attempts to cobble together a non-combat JSDF support force floundered on the Diet floor, and Japan could only muster $9 billion and a maritime minesweeper unit for the allies' cause, which was only deployed after the end of combat activities. According to some experts, this "checkbook diplomacy" following the Gulf War "also revealed Japan's less-than-full participation in what global opinion believed was required by a major economic power. In other words, it became clear Japan had less of a military than what it was expected to have."46 This particular crisis led directly to embarrassment with its allies, but prompted Japan to begin participation in UN peacekeeping operations and an overall feeling Japan should contribute more positively to international order.47

A second major security crisis occurred in 1998, engendered by Japan's recalcitrant neighbor, North Korea. In 1993, North Korea launched a No-Dong theater ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, clearly revealing the threat to Japanese territory. Strangely, the event "didn't make any headlines."48 It was a different story five years later when North Korea again launched a Taepo-Dong theater ballistic missile towards Japan, this time overflying the country completely, with the warhead crashing down in the western Pacific. According to policy experts, "Japan's threat perception really took off and Japan began to take its security seriously again, especially in the realm of missile defense."49 Japan now possesses Asia's most robust and advanced tactical and ballistic missile defense system, which has served to balance East Asia's dangerous theater missile proliferation situation. These two incidents are proof of Japan's continually normalizing defense posture, begrudging though it may be.

The second major incentive to defense normalization has been public opinion. Japanese politics have proven especially sensitive to public opinion in the post-war period, and public opinion in the country has been overwhelmingly pacifist and unwilling to consider changes to defense policy. Most specialists are in agreement that in the Japanese public "mental opposition to force remains high," and that if the Japanese people are to change their minds on defense an identity change or major external crisis is necessary. 50 Nevertheless, public opinion relating to defense has noticeably changed. Figure 2 shows an overall increase in interest in the JSDF and defense issues over the years 2009 to 2012, and a corresponding decrease in a lack of interest.

Figure 2: Interest in Defense Issues Public Opinion Poll, 2009-2012

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Similarly, Figure 3 reveals impressions of the JSDF as increasingly positive. While the Japanese public is becoming more attuned to defense issues, this positive impression has been propelled upwards no doubt in part by the JSDF's rapid and successful response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan, a secondary but critical JSDF mission.

Figure 3: Japanese Public Impressions towards the JSDF, 2009-2012

 Japanese_Use_of_Force3.JPG

Perhaps most interesting is the ten-percent jump in desire to make defense capabilities more robust as denoted in Figure 4. Similarly, the public's perception of Japanese military strength seems to indicate an image of insufficient strength, with the majority of respondents still believing military strength to be sufficiently strong but are less and less willing to see a decrease in military power.

Figure 4: Public Opinion on Military Capabilities, 2009-2012

 Japanese_Use_of_Force4.JPG

Experts remain torn on whether or not the Japanese public in its current form can stomach further defense normalization, let alone accept a return to policies authorizing the use of force and spending more. Even if the JSDF are more popular, there are few signs that Japanese voters and taxpayers want its budget to grow. The real role of public opinion remains difficult to pinpoint; one expert remarked "the sad thing about Japan is unlike the US it cannot attack a threat without a consensus."54 Others note the difficulty required to amend the constitution and cite this procedural hurdle with hamstringing Japanese defense efforts: "the constitution has never been able to be amended because of the massive consensus needed to do it."55 Still others note the difficulty with the overwhelmingly pacifist Japanese people themselves: "Japan famously lacks an intermediate thinking class regarding powerful issues; you either feel strongly about something or you don't feel about it at all. Further, everyone in Japan changes their mind quickly. The same custom and cultural aspect that causes total cooperation or compliance with an order on a national level also causes this kind of thinking."56 Regardless, public opinion matters in Japan, and its effect on defense, while not easily measured, is changing.

The third major incentive for change is individual politicians' personalities and influences. Since the 1990s Japanese politicians, namely Diet members and the Cabinet, have taken an increasingly greater role in policy development and defense issues. Nevertheless, they remain as risk-averse to defense normalization as ever, as they "cautiously, but proactively" assign the JSDF its roles and missions.57 The most common modern critiques of these politicians is that they're either too ignorant of defense issues or much too hawkish, with the 1990s Japanese Diet representing the former and the efforts of the 2014-2015 Abe cabinet to modernize military policy representing the latter. Of these two critiques, ignorance (which has stemmed from willfully and purposefully shunning military affairs in the post-war period) is by far the most common.

Japanese politicians' inherent lack of understanding regarding defense issues is probably best seen via a debate that took place in the Diet in 1994, which was considering whether or not to send the JSDF on one of its first PKO missions to Rwanda. During these deliberations, the Diet became hung up on whether or not it should permit the JSDF to bring along one machine gun or two to the hotly contested civil war zone. The debate began to swirl around the issue of use of force, as Diet members argued over "applying the scope of the PKO Cooperation Law to the possibility that the JSDF may have to utilize force overseas,"58 a concept no Diet member was prepared to address. Actually dispatching forces had to wait until the Diet made up its mind about how many machineguns the JSDF could bring, knowing nothing about the condition on the ground in Rwanda, and limiting the debate to legalistic interpretations of the constitution and the PKO law. This adolescent way of viewing defense matters will require better politician education and a firmer security clearance system before any improvement will occur.

Conversely, zealous efforts to move defense normalization forward are often met with unintended consequences. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to use his political clout and two-house majority to push his collective security legislation through the Diet in July 2015, he did not expect the resistance he found both in the Diet and in the public. One theory as to why the public resisted the legislation so fiercely is:

Abe has not been able to give a clear explanation about the change in the constitutional interpretation of the exercise of the right to self-defense….It will be difficult to advance this process unless the government enhances public understanding of, and support for, the right of collective self-defense.59

If the baffling explanations of collective defense on Cabinet and Ministry of Defense (MOD) websites are any indication, clear comprehension of this topic continues to elude the public and by extension stymie support for the policy. While Abe's personality may have won the day this time, his haste most certainly cost him a great deal of political capital, as noted in Figure 5. The explanations provided by Abe and his supporters lacked clarity, went into convoluted details of hypothetical contingencies, and were thus poorly designed to convince the electorate. Politicians' personalities remain a mixed bag when considering their effect on defense normalization and use of force.

Figure 5: Changes in Support Rate for the Abe Cabinet, 2012-2015

Japanese_Use_of_Force5.JPG

 The last major incentive for defense policy change is uncertainty surrounding the US's commitment to Japan. While the US-Japan alliance is one of the strongest in the world, diplomatic discourse is an ongoing challenge and is not without incident. Japan has continually received US pressure to rearm faster from all corners; uniformed officers, diplomats, and presidents have all taken their turn goading Japan into normalizing its defense posture. Beginning in 1951 when Prime Minister Yoshida rebuffed US negotiator Dulles's demand to create a large standing military force, pressure has continued into the post-cold war period, reaching a fevered pitch during the 1991 Gulf War hostilities and provoking a brief but unfounded "worrisome perception, growing on both sides of the Pacific, that the Japan-US security alliance had lost its sense of direction."61 This fear prompted Prime Minister Hosokawa (ironically the grandson of Prime Minister Konoe, who served as Prime Minister during the war with China in the 1930s and committed suicide in 1945) in 1994 to create his own special advisory group with orders to analyze the current status of the US-Japan alliance. This council, called the Boei Nenkan Kankokai, released its report in August of the same year suggesting "Japan should extricate itself from its security policy of the past, that was, if anything, passive, and henceforth play an active role in shaping a new order."62 This thinking eventually led to issuing the new NDPG in 1997, effectively reinvigorating the US-Japan alliance and providing the much-needed impetus from Japan to seriously face its security situation.

These four incentives have helped prod Japanese defense normalization into the twenty-first century. To accurately understand the whole defense picture, however, use of force must first be examined in light of Japan's unique perspective.

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Use of Force from the Japanese Perspective

Definitions and Rights 

While western statesmen and military strategists universally recognize one definition for "use of force" as a sovereign right of the state and a critical component of national strategy63, Japan's lexical contortions leading to different constitutional interpretations over the years have spawned three different definitions of this same concept. To truly understand how Japan thinks of use of force, these definitions first must be understood.

The first definition is 武力行使、or buryokukoushi, which when translated means "use of military force" and best represents the above-mentioned western international relations theory definition. Within this word is the direct implication that force via arms will be utilized. Interestingly, the legal foundation for this authority comprises only one sentence in Japanese civil code, with no further discussion64 (and thus highlighting the difference between Japan and other polities, which consider the civil code irrelevant to questions of war and peace). A subset of this definition is an expression known as 一体化, or ittaika, which approximately means "force integration."65 This is mentioned often in debate because security experts are aware there is always a chance during combat that any particular JSDF body of troops could find itself fighting together with friendly forces in an illegal action; nevertheless, despite aiding their allies, Japan considers certain kinds of ittaika an improper and illegal use of force and instructs the JSDF to avoid this practice.66 The second definition is 武器行使, or bukikoushi, which means "use of weapons." This definition is found in Japanese civil code as a law enforcement function and describes when and how police weapons are authorized for use.67 This definition also applies to the JSDF, and in it we find vestiges of the JSDF's Police Reserve Force past.68 According to one expert, "the JSDF only has 'use of weapons' authority, just like the police. 'Use of weapon' and 'use of force' are clearly distinguished in Japan."69 Adherence to this definition stops any action considering the use of force in its tracks; because "the status of the Self-Defense Forces remain essentially the same as that of the police,"70 legal trouble continues to plague JSDF forces before and during any military operation, especially overseas.

The third definition is 実力行使, or jitsuryokukoushi. When referenced in a dictionary, this word produces the definition "use of force," but upon closer inspection the Japanese term actually means "use of actual power" or sometimes simply "capability." This term is the newest and most mysterious of the three use of force definitions; roots of this word originate from the Cabinet Legislation Bureau (CLB), an organ charged with promulgating legal interpretations to assist the government. Using Article IX of the constitution and a famous legal case known as the Sunagawa decision in 1959 to craft their interpretations, the CLB has chosen to ignore the word "force" completely, as they consider all manner of "force" to be illegal.71 To some this is a "pointless exercise in syntax whose only policy goal is to dodge the real issue at stake," that is, modern and proper use of force policies.72

Having three separate but related definitions of "use of force" certainly muddies the waters surrounding Japanese defense policy goals, and most experts agree this is the case. Forcing JSDF personnel to adhere to the same rules police officers must obey clearly impedes military operations, as noted by one JSDF officer:

in the US, if a suspect begins to pull out a weapon, no matter if the weapon is real or not it's considered a viable threat and the cop is justified in taking action, and defended for doing so. In Japan, should the police do something before a suspect pulls out a weapon, even though it saved his own life, it's considered as though there was no weapon to begin with. There's a lot of toys that look like guns; so one of these policies is clearly safer but carries more risk.73

Applying this way of thinking and legal customs to its military personnel creates problems which are further compounded by Japan's use of force interpretation, including prohibiting the use of force during danger-filled PKO operations because "it is the exercise of state power for the settlement of international disputes."74 This conceptual thinking and self-imposed force restrictions have created havoc for the JSDF, who in many ways are more afraid of breaking the law than they are of combat.

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First-Rate Military, Third-Rate Policy 

Given the above legal concerns, paradoxically the JSDF are equipped to use force for many different missions but lack a corresponding legal foundation. The various constitutional interpretations and use of force obscurity have taken their toll on JSDF effectiveness.

For being technically illegal, the JSDF are a remarkably well-trained and well-equipped military force. The JSDF possesses Asia's best equipped and most robust military, which includes only 250,000 active duty personnel but eight regional deployment divisions, eight anti-aircraft artillery units, four destroyer flotillas, forty-seven destroyers, sixteen submarines, twenty ground-based and airborne warning squadrons, twelve fighter squadrons, and approximately 340 completely serviceable combat aircraft, to name a few.75 These forces also contain some of the most advanced defense technology available today, including six AEGIS surface-to-air destroyers, airborne warning and control capabilities, and missile defense facilities dotted throughout the country. JSDF troops regularly engage in exercises both domestically and internationally, and some regions have already hosted up to nine separate civil-military joint protection exercises.76 Personnel receive training comparable to their US counterparts, complete with basic training, advanced technical training, continuing professional education, and regular combat drill. In short, the capabilities of the JSDF are first-rate.

However, the policies that control the JSDF are woefully inadequate to utilize its power in any efficient way. Control and policy are lacking in three main areas: the cumbersome chain of command, budgeting challenges, and the pure-defense mindset that requires an upfront tactical disadvantage should combat be required.

The first of these policies, the military chain of command, at once causes problems for utilizing force via the JSDF. Japanese social memory is long, and the memories and experiences with the military "running amok" in the 1930s and 1940s directly led to an excessively complicated civil-military control system.77 Should the JSDF be required to use its weapons, even in the case of direct and imminent threat, the government must first authorize the action. The prime minister, after consulting with the cabinet, exercises the supreme control and authorization over the JSDF; under these auspices he gives orders to the Defense Minister, who in turn directs these orders to the three services for execution.78 The prime minister must also confer with the Security Council of Japan, a body made up of ministers relevant to security policy, before executing any action.79

Thus, Japan's primary concern is civil control over the military, which clearly takes precedence over swift and effective force utilization. JSDF uniformed commanders are consequently restricted: "under existing laws, the SDF is required to ask permission from central government agencies and local authorities before it can take action."80 Operational initiative in the field is unheard of, and the clear and effective communication between a field commander and the highest echelons of government required to utilize force under this system is a clear danger during actual combat, where experience shows communications are often garbled or destroyed quickly, and early, in a real fight.

The second policy, budgeting restrictions, is also a prominent obstacle to the use of force. The defense budget has always been an easy target in the eyes of Japanese politicians; relying heavily on US defense and prioritizing economic growth, Japanese defense spending has an ungainly past. Politicians have publicly scourged the military when convenient; when JSDF officers and Defense Agency officials dared to conduct Korean peninsula contingency paper exercises in 1963, Prime Minister Sato (brother of former Prime Minister Kishi, who is Prime Minister Abe’s grandfather) was appalled by the fact no one informed him and called the tabletop planning sessions "Impermissible. I believe it is regrettable that this kind of planning has been done without the government's knowledge."81 Notwithstanding that the Defense Agency was part of the government, this attitude eventually led to the aforementioned informal defense budget restriction to one percent of GDP, formalized in 1976 under Prime Minister Miki. The trend since has not been positive for the JSDF, as noted in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Defense Budget Trends, 2001-2015

 Japanese_Use_of_Force6.JPG

While the large upswing in defense spending from 2012 may be seen as positive, when considering inflation and Yen depreciation Japan's defense budget is actually decreasing. In fact, "[Japan's] defense budget has been declining for nine consecutive years and [comprises] less than 1% of its GDP."83 Figure 7 demonstrates this clearly by comparing the ratio of defense expenditures to GDP.

Figure 7: Japanese Defense Spending Trends, 1955-2015

Japanese_Use_of_Force7.JPG 

Consequently, Japan's military contributions to international peace and its options in case of contingency remain limited. While Japan has enlarged its roles in PKO and fighting international piracy, in reality the Japanese global footprint is quite small, and "the number of Japanese military personnel contributing to UN operations is only 266, which ranks 47th among UN member states."85 There are non-UN JSDF forces deployed overseas to Djibouti for anti-piracy missions, but they include only approximately 800 personnel from all services, plus a small number of aircraft and vessels.86 Japan's inadequate defense budgeting, combined with the aforementioned use of force restrictions and cumbersome chain of command, actually cause JSDF members to be a burden to their allied partners when executing international operations such as PKO. Because JSDF forces are small in number, must look to their defense first and foremost, cannot readily defend their partners during combat situations, and require excessive lag time while waiting for permission to conduct operations, JSDF impact on actual use of force situations and PKO missions remains close to non-existent.

Lastly, a pure defense mindset has troubled JSDF use of force calculations. While difficult to measure, always approaching strategy from the same angle essentially contracts thinking to a narrow boundary that disregards other strategic imperatives. In other words, "if you always have the answer, in this case defense, you don't need a process."87 A defense-only mindset naturally skews all planning processes, creativity, and outcomes towards that situation; prepared defense scenarios tend to describe operations after combat has commenced and miss proper focus on pre-war planning and preparation of the battlefield. This leads to the conclusion that the "SDF will take the first strike right in the teeth; there is no realistic authorization to use force before they're directly attacked."88

This notion of taking the first punch before your hands become untied has many negative tactical and strategic implications that will not be expounded here, but suffice to say it fits very well with pacifist notions in Article IX and how lawmakers in the Diet conceive of combat situations. Regarding this latter conception, Japan's defense posture regularly chafes under these combat fantasies, and some outside observers comment that "Japan's ideas about combat situations have been very conceptual and formal, and a bit childish. People who understand combat would never look at these situations in such a childish way."89

Thus, the JSDF can be seen at once as an excellent fighting force hampered by myopic use of force policies. The sources of these policies lie in the legalistic nature of JSDF control, and how this law treats the use of force.

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The Law and Use of Force

From an international perspective, Japan's civilian iron grip on JSDF operations and the efforts to avoid using it are seen as extremely legalistic and time-consuming. Japan's first instinct when facing a potential combat or force deployment situation is to litigate; this has created a tradition of contradictory laws, slow deliberation, and an emphasis on interpretation over legislative processes. Three of the biggest problems are JSDF legal restrictions, the lack of a military tribunal, and the JSDF's Police Reserve Force legacy.

First, it can be said that without the law, the JSDF cannot act. According to some experts, "operations just can't be carried out without the legal basis, and most of society believes the SDF are unconstitutional anyway."90 Aside from their legal police equivalency, the JSDF's chain of command is simply too cumbersome to allow for individual action and operational freedom. This encumbering was done with a purpose: the memories of the unhinged wartime military government caused Japan to overcompensate its civilian control of the military, as it has overcompensated for other societal or governmental trends in the past.91

The actor most responsible for JSDF legal restrictions, which happens to be the administrative body with the most influential effect on Japanese use of force, is a government office that has consistently involved itself in policy decisions while simultaneously remaining outside the political government: the Cabinet Legislation Bureau (CLB). A secretive bureau whose origins date from the Meiji period, the CLB has inherited substantial historical prestige and the power to interpret legal issues as it sees fit. It contains no politicians and no military officers—only career bureaucrats from the most elite ministries who routinely interpret the constitution in accordance with Japanese law (and sometimes custom), despite the glaring enumerated constitutional mandate placing this job firmly within the purview of the judicial branch. It has two formal roles: to provide legal opinions to the Cabinet and Prime Minister, and to analyze all drafts, bills, Cabinet orders, and regulations for “consistency with the constitution and legal precedents.”92 It is the CLB that has summarily ruled on how Article IX should be interpreted and that the JSDF are authorized to exist, and their opinions heavily influence Diet decisions when considering whether or not to deploy troops or engage in overseas operations.

Under the banner of “creating a unified government interpretation,” the CLB also single-handedly prohibited the export of any weapons or defense materials until 1983, squashed the prime minister`s efforts to send troops to the US-led “coalition of the willing” during the 1991 Gulf War, barred government ministers from visiting Yasukuni Shrine in official capacities, prevented the JSDF from being interpreted as illegal by socialist prime ministers, and even tentatively authorized Japan to possess nuclear weapons (via constitutional interpretation) as long as these weapons were defensive in nature.93 This remarkable legal unit, however, has also kept the JSDF tied up in its currently contorted position; neither authorizing any improvements to the chain of command process, nor easing legal JSDF operational restrictions, thus keeping the JSDF`s legal authority for action effectively the same as the 1950s Reserve Police Force.94

The most striking form this legal restriction takes is the lack of contingency planning and emergency authority. As early as 1978, JSDF officers were thoroughly perplexed by their own lack of legal authority to take action should Japan come under imminent threat. General Hiroomi Kurisu, chairman of the Joint Staff Council, caused a firestorm when he remarked on July 19, 1978 "since there are many inadequacies in the present Self-Defense Forces Law, it is possible that the forces might be obliged to take extralegal action (chohokiteki kodo) in time of emergency."95 This spurred some studies into the matter by the Defense Agency in 1977, 1981, and 1984, but successive governments have not adequately addressed the gaping hole in emergency legislation which prevents the JSDF from taking action during a crisis.96

This failure to address contingencies "exemplifies not only the persistent political sensitivities involved but also the weakness of Japan's political leadership, compounded by an array of jurisdictional problems cutting across ministries and agencies and local to provide legal opinions to the Cabinet and Prime Minister, and to analyze all drafts, bills, Cabinet orders, and regulations for “consistency with the constitution and legal precedents.”92 It is the CLB that has summarily ruled on how Article IX should be interpreted and that the JSDF are authorized to exist, and their opinions heavily influence Diet decisions when considering whether or not to deploy troops or engage in overseas operations.

Under the banner of “creating a unified government interpretation,” the CLB also single-handedly prohibited the export of any weapons or defense materials until 1983, squashed the prime minister`s efforts to send troops to the US-led “coalition of the willing” during the 1991 Gulf War, barred government ministers from visiting Yasukuni Shrine in official capacities, prevented the JSDF from being interpreted as illegal by socialist prime ministers, and even tentatively authorized Japan to possess nuclear weapons (via constitutional interpretation) as long as these weapons were defensive in nature.93 This remarkable legal unit, however, has also kept the JSDF tied up in its currently contorted position; neither authorizing any improvements to the chain of command process, nor easing legal JSDF operational restrictions, thus keeping the JSDF`s legal authority for action effectively the same as the 1950s Reserve Police Force.94

The most striking form this legal restriction takes is the lack of contingency planning and emergency authority. As early as 1978, JSDF officers were thoroughly perplexed by their own lack of legal authority to take action should Japan come under imminent threat. General Hiroomi Kurisu, chairman of the Joint Staff Council, caused a firestorm when he remarked on July 19, 1978 "since there are many inadequacies in the present Self-Defense Forces Law, it is possible that the forces might be obliged to take extralegal action (chohokiteki kodo) in time of emergency."95 This spurred some studies into the matter by the Defense Agency in 1977, 1981, and 1984, but successive governments have not adequately addressed the gaping hole in emergency legislation which prevents the JSDF from taking action during a crisis.96

This failure to address contingencies "exemplifies not only the persistent political sensitivities involved but also the weakness of Japan's political leadership, compounded by an array of jurisdictional problems cutting across ministries and agencies and local governments."97 For their part, JSDF officers are very concerned with their authority to respond to a national crisis with force; according to one officer, "one of our biggest worries in the SDF is being unable to face a threat that has just emerged in a timely manner, according to the current policy….It's a little late when the missile is flying towards you."98 The state is therefore thwarted by its own legislation; without specific legal guidance to take action, JSDF commanders will continue to take on unreasonable responsibility and will have to do their best during unforeseen situations that go unanticipated in the law.99

Lacking a uniform legal military code of justice and military tribunal is also a problem. While other militaries take it for granted that their forces will be legally protected in case they must do someone harm, Japanese forces conspicuously lack this assurance. Indeed, "the fundamental problem of today's SDF, then, is that they do not have the legal status or treatment normally accorded to the military forces of an independent state."100 This is not a mere detail; the lack of a legal safety net not only affects JSDF morale but could also mean dire consequences for a JSDF member who is forced to harm or kill a combatant while overseas; which would be particularly problematic in Japan since most of the public would probably be far more horrified at the JSDF killing civilians by mistake than would be the case in countries such as the US, France or the UK.101 Without domestic legal assurances backed up by the force of the state, JSDF personnel are relegated to utilizing international law and UN rules during individual operations, both of which require sovereign state sponsorship to be effective. In other words, should a JSDF trooper have to shoot someone overseas, that incident instantly becomes a criminal act in that country, complete with all necessary due process requirements in that state. In that case, Japan's civil government would have no recourse but to oblige the foreign state; without its own uniform code of justice to protect the military member, there only remains a precarious reliance on international law and whatever Status of Forces Agreement Japan can work out with the country prior to operations. Worse, should a JSDF member be killed in the line of duty overseas, the shaky ground caused by this lack of legal groundwork could, according to some, "force Japan to withdraw its PKO forces, for example, in case of a single combat death because it is so unprepared for the legal ramifications."102

Lastly, the JSDF continues to suffer from its Reserve Police Force past. When General MacArthur ordered the Reserve Police Force into existence in 1950, in order to circumvent Article IX of the constitution the 75,000-man body had to be labeled as a police unit. This had both advantages of associating the unit with the concept of a domestic peacekeeping and non-expeditionary force, and one that was mentally separate from the horrific militarism of the recent past. This also meant the laws that authorized its operations also resemble police laws: strict weapons control regulations, volunteer status, an emphasis on domestic order, and of course, no national use of force authority. As the JSDF evolved over the years, their outward image, roles, and missions changed but the laws stayed the same; as a matter of fact, even today the regulations governing how JSDF personnel may utilize weapons is in the "Police Officers' Duties Law," located in the Japanese civil code.103

This is where the authority and responsibility mess originates regarding the JSDF's inability to use force; according to one expert, "SDF function more resembles a police force than a military—because it was a police force. Things really haven't changed because the Reserve Police Force has not been abolished, but rather added to over time."104 Without replacement laws, the JSDF still functions under these regulations and is "legally indistinguishable from the police force."105 This is a problem when the JSDF needs to use force overseas during operations, but lack the legal authority to do so.

Legal support for the use of force thus remains effectively absent. Normalization, however, continues slowly onwards, best represented most recently by the collective defense legislation passed by the Diet in September of 2015.

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Collective Defense: A Step Towards Normalcy

Collective self-defense is a concept well-established in international law. Collective self-defense is simply military operations that aid an ally because that ally is under attack or that attack could lead to an unacceptably dangerous threat or outcome to the state. In other nations, collective self-defense is inherently combined with self-defense in general and draws support from the UN Charter, Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928, and the US-Japan San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, to name a few.106 Collective defense is thus well-established in international law and custom. Once again, however, we see Japan interpreting rules to fit its own constitution and political needs: for many years collective defense was considered an unacceptable use of force and completely prohibited, much to the chagrin of JSDF personnel deployed abroad—and their allies, whom they could not assist even if under attack.

This all changed in July 2014 when the Abe administration announced the government's new constitutional interpretation; that "if an armed attack against a foreign country that is in a close relationship with Japan threatens Japan's security, Japan's limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense will not violate Article IX of the constitution."107 While this was treated as a major interpretational change, in reality the effects are likely to be quite minor. To execute this newly-recognized but old right, the law passed in September 2015 lays out strict conditions that must be observed: when the danger to the foreign ally also poses a clear danger to fundamentally overturn Japanese people's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack; and when force is limited to the minimum extent necessary.108

While debate has continued, experts remain relatively in agreement that this legislation will not make a measureable impact on defense activities. The reasons are numerous. First, some JSDF officers already believed they had this right; according to one officer, "[collective defense] was already understood to be a right by the JSDF 10 or 20 years ago. In this sense it's nothing new or groundbreaking."109 Other specialists believe the legislation is over-appreciated in Washington, and the budget and capability realities continuously hampering the JSDF will prevent real action from taking place.110 Still others recognize the difficulty involved in the government creating a united judgment on a defense issue: "the legislation requires the government to comply with the three conditions to determine if the JSDF can use collective defense, but no one knows what this judgment will look like!"111 Others perceive a nefarious, "salami-slicing" strategy whereby successive administrations can essentially create policy change via legislation without amending the constitution.112 But most likely, Japanese defense will continue as status quo, and a real opportunity to honestly face and discuss Japan's security situation will once again slip away.

Regardless of ultimate judgment, the collective defense legislation is a clear step towards defense policy normalization, and is one of the rare and contentious instances of use of force deliberation.

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Future Prospects

Despite the uncertainty surrounding current use of force laws and policy, the consistently risk-averse nature of Japanese politicians, and the psychologically wounded Japanese pacifist psyche, Japanese defense trends are immediately apparent. These trends indicate a slowly, but surely, normalizing defense apparatus caused mostly by external defense realities, individual politicians' personalities, and a healthy dose of constitutional interpretation. Whether Japan decides to attempt to keep things the status quo, become a global civilian power, or to become a normal state,113 Japan must first choose how to deal with the major internal strategic threats facing its security situation.

The first of these threats is its own constitution. One thing that is not well understood outside of Japan is the weight Japanese tradition assigns to documents and positions of authority; according to Japanese custom, the higher the authority, the less it should be changed. According to one expert, "the constitution is at the top of the pyramid of law and custom, thus it is treated as inviolable even though there's a way to amend it. It's never been changed since 1947; this is extremely rare."114 Still another JSDF officer recommended the constitution be changed, but only a little: "I think we should cut out the 2nd paragraph of Article IX but keep the 1st, and keep all that stuff about no war and Despite the uncertainty surrounding current use of force laws and policy, the consistently risk-averse nature of Japanese politicians, and the psychologically wounded Japanese pacifist psyche, Japanese defense trends are immediately apparent. These trends indicate a slowly, but surely, normalizing defense apparatus caused mostly by external defense realities, individual politicians' personalities, and a healthy dose of constitutional interpretation. Whether Japan decides to attempt to keep things the status quo, become a global civilian power, or to become a normal state,113 Japan must first choose how to deal with the major internal strategic threats facing its security situation.

The first of these threats is its own constitution. One thing that is not well understood outside of Japan is the weight Japanese tradition assigns to documents and positions of authority; according to Japanese custom, the higher the authority, the less it should be changed. According to one expert, "the constitution is at the top of the pyramid of law and custom, thus it is treated as inviolable even though there's a way to amend it. It's never been changed since 1947; this is extremely rare."114 Still another JSDF officer recommended the constitution be changed, but only a little: "I think we should cut out the 2nd paragraph of Article IX but keep the 1st, and keep all that stuff about no war and strengthen the alliance with the US, face its wartime responsibility with the aim of reconciliation now to make a stronger state later, and continue to strengthen its defense capabilities in the region, the state's return to use of force as an instrument of national policy will come to be considered natural and necessary as a matter of course; not as a betrayal of the Japanese psyche and national ideals, but a prudent security decision in an increasingly dynamic region of the world.

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Conclusion 

For among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised…and it is not reasonable that he who is armed should yield obedience willingly to him who is unarmed, or that the unarmed man should be secure among armed servants.120

—Nicolo Machiavelli
The Prince

Japanese defense policy is entering a new age. Beginning with the collective defense legislation in September 2015, the way forward for Japanese use of force is becoming clearer but still faces significant confusion and obstacles. It is clear Japanese statecraft and defense policies are normalizing—the revision-halting power of the CLB is decreasing, JSDF prestige is rising, and public opinion is becoming more supportive—but the rate at which this is occurring is likely much too slow to face the dynamic security situation of the East Asia and Pacific regions. Via policies like collective defense, the increase in JSDF personnel stature, the Ministry of Defense's expanding role, new defense acquisitions, and new thinking, Japanese defense thought is leaps and bounds improved from the doldrums of the 1950s and 1960s. Recently, Japanese defense policies have begun to focus on what they term "seamless" operations; fast responses to security threats to forestall escalation, especially in the maritime environment.121 In addition, Japan has begun developing rules of engagement to fit these environments and better direct how forces will be utilized. This is a surprisingly far-sighted and timely strategy for a state that is habitually "too little, too late" in its defense thinking, and represents a notable change to current defense policy.

It is conceivable that Japan will return its sovereign right to utilize force as an instrument of national policy to its repertoire, but it is unlikely to happen soon. The public still sees the Japan-US alliance as more of a business bargain than a real defense pact – "you give me protection and I'll give you bases"122 – and continues to think of defense as a "need of the moment" event rather than as a long-term, grand strategy. While defense and use of force policies are advancing at a glacial pace, one thing remains abundantly clear: Japan is like any other nation in that "simply put, if deemed imperative, Japan would probably do what is required in securing its vital national interests."123 This means Japan is just as susceptible to rapid changes and large events, like war, as any other state; and the greatest policy change potential lies wrapped within crises. Wherever Japanese use of force is headed, it is clear Japan remains open to the possibility of force and will continue to normalize its defense policies in its own particular fashion.

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Appendix A: Preamble of the Constitution of Japan

Promulgated on November 3, 1946
Came into effect on May 3, 1947

We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution. Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people. This is a universal principle of mankind upon which this Constitution is founded. We reject and revoke all constitutions, laws, ordinances, and rescripts in conflict herewith.

We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.

We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations.

We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.

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Appendix B: Article IX of the Constitution of Japan 

Chapter II

Renunciation of War

Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

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Appendix C: Japan-US Security Treaty 

TREATY OF MUTUAL COOPERATION AND SECURITY BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Japan and the United States of America,

Desiring to strengthen the bonds of peace and friendship traditionally existing between them, and to uphold the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law,

Desiring further to encourage closer economic cooperation between them and to promote conditions of economic stability and well-being in their countries,

Reaffirming their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments,

Recognizing that they have the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense as affirmed in the Charter of the United Nations,

Considering that they have a common concern in the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East,

Having resolved to conclude a treaty of mutual cooperation and security,

Therefore agree as follows:

ARTICLE I

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. The Parties will endeavor in concert with other peace-loving countries to strengthen the United Nations so that its mission of maintaining international peace and security may be discharged more effectively. ARTICLE II

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between them.

ARTICLE III

The Parties, individually and in cooperation with each other, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop, subject to their constitutional provisions, their capacities to resist armed attack.

ARTICLE IV

The Parties will consult together from time to time regarding the implementation of this Treaty, and, at the request of either Party, whenever the security of Japan or international peace and security in the Far East is threatened.

ARTICLE V

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Article 51 of the Charter. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

ARTICLE VI

For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan. The use of these facilities and areas as well as the status of United States armed forces in Japan shall be governed by a separate agreement, replacing the Administrative Agreement under Article III of the Security Treaty between Japan and the United States of America, signed at Tokyo on February 28, 1952, as amended, and by such other arrangements as may be agreed upon. ARTICLE VII

This Treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

ARTICLE VIII

This Treaty shall be ratified by Japan and the United States of America in accordance with their respective constitutional processes and will enter into force on the date on which the instruments of ratification thereof have been exchanged by them in Tokyo.

ARTICLE IX

The Security Treaty between Japan and the United States of America signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951 shall expire upon the entering into force of this Treaty.

ARTICLE X

This Treaty shall remain in force until in the opinion of the Governments of Japan and the United States of America there shall have come into force such United Nations arrangements as will satisfactorily provide for the maintenance of international peace and security in the Japan area. However, after the Treaty has been in force for ten years, either Party may give notice to the other Party of its intention to terminate the Treaty, in which case the Treaty shall terminate one year after such notice has been given.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty.

DONE in duplicate at Washington in the Japanese and English languages, both equally authentic, this 19th day of January, 1960.

FOR JAPAN:
Nobusuke Kishi
Aiichiro Fujiyama
Mitsujiro Ishii
Tadashi Adachi
Koichiro Asakai

FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Christian A. Herter
Douglas MacArthur 2nd
J. Graham Parsons

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Appendix D: Selected Excerpts from the Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation (2015) 

III. COOPERATION UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Both Governments will firmly maintain existing U.S.-Japan security arrangements. Each Government will make efforts to maintain required defense postures. Japan will possess defense capability within the scope necessary for self-defense on the basis of the "National Defense Program Outline." In order to meet its commitments, the United States will maintain its nuclear deterrent capability, its forward deployed forces in the Asia-Pacific region, and other forces capable of reinforcing those forward deployed forces.

Both Governments, based on their respective policies, under normal circumstances will maintain close cooperation for the defense of Japan as well as for the creation of a more stable international security environment.

Both Governments will under normal circumstances enhance cooperation in a variety of areas. Examples include mutual support activities under the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America concerning Reciprocal Provision of Logistic Support, Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Armed Forces of the United States of America; the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement between the United States of America and Japan; and their related arrangements.

IV. ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO AN ARMED ATTACK AGAINST JAPAN

Bilateral actions in response to an armed attack against Japan remain a core aspect of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation.

When an armed attack against Japan is imminent, the two Governments will take steps to prevent further deterioration of the situation and make preparations necessary for the defense of Japan. When an armed attack against Japan takes place, the two Governments will conduct appropriate bilateral actions to repel it at the earliest possible stage.

  1. When an Armed Attack against Japan is Imminent
    The two Governments will intensify information and intelligence sharing and policy consultations, and initiate at an early stage the operation of a bilateral coordination mechanism. Cooperating as appropriate, they will make preparations necessary for ensuring coordinated responses according to the readiness stage selected by mutual agreement. Japan will establish and maintain the basis for U.S. reinforcements. As circumstances change, the two Governments will also increase intelligence gathering and surveillance, and will prepare to respond to activities which could develop into an armed attack against Japan.

    The two Governments will make every effort, including diplomatic efforts, to prevent further deterioration of the situation.

    Recognizing that a situation in areas surrounding Japan may develop into an armed attack against Japan, the two Governments will be mindful of the close interrelationship of the two requirements: preparations for the defense of Japan and responses to or preparations for situations in areas surrounding Japan.

VI. BILATERAL PROGRAMS FOR EFFECTIVE DEFENSE COOPERATION UNDER THE GUIDELINES

Effective bilateral cooperation under the Guidelines will require the United States and Japan to conduct consultative dialogue throughout the spectrum of security conditions: normal circumstances, an armed attack against Japan, and situations in areas surrounding Japan. Both sides must be well informed and coordinate at multiple levels to ensure successful bilateral defense cooperation. To accomplish this, the two Governments will strengthen their information and intelligence sharing and policy consultations by taking advantage of all available opportunities, including SCC and SSC meetings, and they will establish the following two mechanisms to facilitate consultations, coordinate policies, and coordinate operational functions.

First, the two Governments will develop a comprehensive mechanism for bilateral planning and the establishment of common standards and procedures, involving not only U.S. Forces and the Self-Defense Forces but also other relevant agencies of their respective Governments.

The two Governments will, as necessary, improve this comprehensive mechanism. The SCC will continue to play an important role for presenting policy direction to the work to be conducted by this mechanism. The SCC will be responsible for presenting directions, validating the progress of work, and issuing directives as necessary. The SDC will assist the SCC in bilateral work.

Second, the two Governments will also establish, under normal circumstances, a bilateral coordination mechanism that will include relevant agencies of the two countries for coordinating respective activities during contingencies. 1. Bilateral Work for Planning and the Establishment of Common Standards and Procedures

Bilateral work listed below will be conducted in a comprehensive mechanism involving relevant agencies of the respective Governments in a deliberate and efficient manner. Progress and results of such work will be reported at significant milestones to the SCC and the SDC.

  1. (1) Bilateral Defense Planning and Mutual Cooperation Planning
    U.S. Forces and the Self-Defense Forces will conduct bilateral defense planning under normal circumstances to take coordinated actions smoothly and effectively in case of an armed attack against Japan. The two Governments will conduct mutual cooperation planning under normal circumstances to be able to respond smoothly and effectively to situations in areas surrounding Japan.

    Bilateral defense planning and mutual cooperation planning will assume various possible situations, with the expectation that results of these efforts will be appropriately reflected in the plans of the two Governments. The two Governments will coordinate and adjust their plans in light of actual circumstances. The two Governments will be mindful that bilateral defense planning and mutual cooperation planning must be consistent so that appropriate responses will be ensured when a situation in areas surrounding Japan threatens to develop into an armed attack against Japan or when such a situation and an armed attack against Japan occur simultaneously.

    (2) Establishment of Common Standards for Preparations
    The two Governments will establish under normal circumstances common standards for preparations for the defense of Japan. These standards will address such matters as intelligence activities, unit activities, movements and logistics support in each readiness stage. When an armed attack against Japan is imminent, both Governments will agree to select a common readiness stage that will be reflected in the level of preparations for the defense of Japan by U.S. Forces, the Self-Defense Forces and other relevant agencies.

    The two Governments will similarly establish common standards for preparations of cooperative measures in situations in areas surrounding Japan so that they may select a common readiness stage by mutual agreement.

    (3) Establishment of Common Procedures
    The two Governments will prepare in advance common procedures to ensure smooth and effective execution of coordinated U.S. Forces and Self-Defense Forces operations for the defense of Japan. These will include procedures for communications, transmission of target information, intelligence activities and logistics support, and prevention of fratricide. Common procedures will also include criteria for properly controlling respective unit operations. The two Forces will take into account the importance of communications and electronics interoperability, and will determine in advance their mutual requirements.

  2. Bilateral Coordination Mechanism
    The two Governments will establish under normal circumstances a bilateral coordination mechanism involving relevant agencies of the two countries to coordinate respective activities in case of an armed attack against Japan and in situations in areas surrounding Japan.

    Procedures for coordination will vary depending upon items to be coordinated and agencies to be involved. They may include coordination committee meetings, mutual dispatch of liaison officers, and designation of points of contacts. As part of such a bilateral coordination mechanism, U.S. Forces and the Self-Defense Forces will prepare under normal circumstances a bilateral coordination center with the necessary hardware and software in order to coordinate their respective activities.

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Appendix E: Japanese Self Defense Forces "Use of Force" Legal Authority 

Article 87, "Weapons Possession and Retention":

The Japanese Self Defence Forces may utilize all weapons necessary to accomplish their prescribed duties.

Article 88, "Use of Force during National Defence Armed Force Dispatches":

  1. For Self-Defence Forces dispatched in accordance with the above Article 76, these forces are authorized any use of force necessary to defend our nation.
  2. Actions utilizing use of force described in paragraph 1 shall comply with international law and convention, and the response will not exceed that to be judged rational and necessary.

Article 89, "Police Officers Activities and Duties Law"

  1. In order to comply with the above law, Self Defence Forces when utilizing weapons will refer to article 7, "Police Officers Activities and Duties Law." Self Defence Forces not in compliance with this law are subject to punishment under the Criminal Code (articles 36 and 37) and as determined by the appropriate military commander. 

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Glossary 

CLB Cabinet Legislation Bureau

GHQ US Army General Headquarters, Japan

JSDF Japan Self Defense Force

PKO United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

MOD Ministry of Defence (Government of Japan)

NDPO National Defense Program Outline

NDPG National Defense Program Guidelines

武力行使. Buryoku koushi. A term that directly translates to "use of military force," which is considered analogous to the term "use of force" in international relations theory. It denotes military activity in pursuit of national defense objectives.

武器行使. Buki koushi. A term that translates to "use of weapons," it describes any regulation or law pertaining to how security and police forces may legally utilize their weapons. This term is always utilized in relation to police duties and law enforcement, and directs JSDF weapons usage as if the JSDF were police officers. This regulation at it pertains to the JSDF is an anachronism from when the JSDF was the Reserve Police Force, and has remained legal guidance for the JSDF as it has never been changed by law. See Appendix E.

実力行使. Jitsuryoku koushi. A term that translates to "actual use of power." This term is occasionally translated as "use of force" but is vague as to what kind of force it describes; it can also be translated as "capability."

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Bibliography  

1. Asahi poll: Support Rate for the Abe Cabinet Slides to 39%, `The Asahi Shimbun (news),` made available at https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201506230061

2. Berger, 1998, cited in Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001

3. "Boat Sinks after Battle with Japan Coast Guard," USA Today, December 22, 2001

4. Boei antenna, 183, October 1975

5. "Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan"s Survival and Protect its People,' from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made available at http://www.mofa.go./jp/jp/nsp/page23

6. Clausewitz, Carl Von; On War, Translated by Howard, Michael et. al; 1976, Princeton University Press

7. Defense of Japan, Ministry of Defence White Paper, 2015, available at http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/2015.html

8. Dudden, Alexis; "A Push to End Pacifism Tests Japanese Democracy," cited in Current History, September 2015

9. "Japan Self Defense Force Refugee Assistance Deployment to Rwanda," located at http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/"自衛隊ルワンダ難民救援派遣"

10. "Japan-US Security Treaty," made available by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/q&a/ref/1.html

11. "Japan Says North Korea Boat in Sea Battle was Spy Ship," The New York Times, October 5, 2002

12. Kamiya, Matake; Japanese Public Opinions about the Exercise of the Right of Collective Defense, Japan Policy Forum, No. 23, September 25, 2014

13. Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001

14. Katahara, Eiichi; Japan's Strategic Options?, cited from "Japan`s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment," edited by Jain, et. al, World Scientific Publishing, 2013

15. "Law Regarding the Self Defence Forces," Japanese Civil Code, made available at: http://law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S29/S29HO165.html

16. Machiavelli, Nicolo; The Prince, translated by Marriott, W.K.; Dent & Sons Inc., 1928

17. Outline of Public Opinion Survey on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and Defense Issues, Public Relations Office, the Cabinet, March 2012

18. Ozawa, Ichiro, Blueprint for a New Japan: The Rethinking of a Nation (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1994)

19. Samuels, Richard J.; "New Fighting Power!" Japan’s Growing Maritime Capabilities and East Asian Security, International Security, vol. 32, No. 3, Winter 2007/2008)

20. Samuels, Richard J; Politics, Security Policy, and Japan`s Cabinet Legislation Bureau: Who Elected These Guys Anyway?, Japan Policy Research Institute, March 2004, No. 99

21. Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014

22. "The Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, 2015, made available by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/security/guideline2.html

23. "The Constitution of Japan," sourced from: http://japan.kantei.go.jp/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.html

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End notes

1 "The Pacific War" refers to World War II, more specifically the conflict that occurred between the United States and its western allies and Imperial Japan from 1941 to 1945. The Second World War has several names depending upon perspective; some scholars in Japan refer to all Imperial Japanese Army and Navy foreign exploits beginning from the Manchurian invasion in 1931 to surrender in 1945 as "The Showa War," a term named for the emperor in power at the time. The United States and the west in general retains "World War II" as its preferred nomenclature for the entire conflict, while Russia calls it "The Great Patriotic War." China, for its part, has two different names: "The World Anti-Fascist War" or "The Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression," the preferred nomenclature of the Chinese Communist Party.
2 Machiavelli, Nicolo; The Prince, translated by Marriott, W.K.; Dent & Sons Inc., 1928, p. 111
3 "Boat Sinks after Battle with Japan Coast Guard," USA Today, December 22, 2001
4 "Japan Says North Korea Boat in Sea Battle was Spy Ship," The New York Times, October 5, 2002 
5 Clausewitz, Carl Von; On War, Translated by Howard, Michael et. al; 1976, Princeton University Press, p. 87 
6 Interview with a Japanese Self Defense Force officer, 21 Oct, 2015.
7 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 72
8 See Appendices A and B.
9 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 72 
10 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 1
11 Ibid, 72.
12 The name for the Japanese Police Reserve Force can be translated several ways, and the term National Police Reserve is also commonly used in the literature. This paper utilizes the nomenclature “Police Reserve Force” or “Reserve Police Force” but refers to the same unit.
13 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 1 
14 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 72 
15 Ibid, 72.
16 Japanese defense spending saw a brief trend upwards during the 1950s, but this trend is somewhat deceiving. Japan`s largest Cold War defense expenditure percentage relative to its GDP was in 1955 at the rate of 1.78 percent, but economic post-war devastation meant the GDP in 1955 was much smaller compared to the GDP in 1960 and later. Further, conscription ended in 1945, which also cut off Japan`s source of relatively cheaper defense personnel as compared to an all-volunteer force, like the Reserve Police Force. See Figure 6.
17 Ibid, 500.
18 Japan has received criticism for the way it reports its defense spending. According to the Defense of Japan White Paper published annually by the Ministry of Defense, Japan's defense spending figures as a percentage of GDP exclude expenditures pertaining to military pensions, reserve forces, and the Japanese Coast Guard, which is considered a law enforcement entity administered outside the MOD. This has bolstered some actual expenditure estimates to figures higher than 1% of GDP, but no higher than 1.5%. Defense spending reports also include "U.S. forces realignment-related" expenses and costs related to the Special Commission on Okinawa (SACO); as these expenditures do not fit the NATO definition of defense expenditure and inflate the defense spending budget versus the above unreported NATO definition items, most analysts consider the reported figures to be relatively accurate.
19 Boei antenna, 183, October 1975, p. 12-49. 
20 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 72
21 Ibid, 72.
22 See Appendix B.
23 The body ultimately responsible for granting the JSDF`s existence via constitutional interpretation was the Cabinet Legislation Bureau (CLB). See chapter 5.
24 Berger, 1998, cited in Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 73.  25 Ibid, 69.
26 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 76.
27 Ibid, 76.
28 Ibid, 77. 
29 Ibid, 81.
30 Ibid, 81.
31 Ibid, 80. 
32 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 4
33 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 73
34 See Appendix C.
35 Interview with a Japan defense policy specialist, 28 October 2015. 
36 Ibid, p.1
37 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 78
38 Ibid, 78.
39 Ibid, 78.
40 Ibid, 82.
43 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 70
44 Ibid, 70.
45 Ibid, 86. 
46 Interview with a strategic policy expert, 30 October 2015.
47 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 87
48 Interview with a strategic policy expert, 30 October 2015.
49 Ibid, 1.
50 Interview with a defense policy expert, 26 October 2015.
51 "Outline of Public Opinion Survey on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and Defense Issues," Public Relations Office, the Cabinet, March 2012, p. 2.
52 Ibid, 5. 
54 Interview with a JSDF colonel, 21 October 2015.
55 Interview with a JSDF colonel, 22 October 2015.
56 Interview with a JSDF colonel, 29 October 2015.
57 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 91
58 "Japan Self Defense Force Refugee Assistance Deployment to Rwanda," located at http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/"自衛隊ルワンダ難民救援派遣"
59 Kamiya, Matake; Japanese Public Opinions about the Exercise of the Right of Collective Defense, Japan Policy Forum, No. 23, September 25, 2014, p. 1. 
60 Asahi poll: Support Rate for the Abe Cabinet Slides to 39%, "The Asahi Shimbun," made available at https://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201506230061 
61 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 72Ibid, 84.
62 Ibid, 84. 
63 Clausewitz, Carl Von; On War, Translated by Howard, Michael et. al; 1976, Princeton University Press, p. 88
64 See Appendix E.
65 Defense of Japan, Ministry of Defence White Paper, 2015, p. 316, available at http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/2015.html
66 The term ittaika literally translates to "becoming one body." Correct translation of the term and its interpretation regularly troubles the US-Japan military relationship and requires explanation with each successive group of military personnel charged with US-Japan military issues. Because the terms "combined force" or "joint force" have implications in military jargon that are separate from the intended meaning of ittaika, the term is translated here as "force integration," a current term understandable by all parties that does not tread on other military terminology. 
67 It should be noted that, due to the low crime rate and the paucity of well-armed criminals in Japan, Japanese police officers very rarely resort to the use of lethal force.
68 See Appendix E.
69 Interview with a defense policy expert, 29 October 2015.
70 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 2
71 Ibid, 10.
72 Ibid, 10. 
73 Interview with a JSDF officer, 26 October 2015.
74 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 7
75 Defense of Japan, Ministry of Defence White Paper, 2015, p. 342, available at http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/2015.html
76 Ibid, 327. 
77 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 74
78 Ibid, 74.
79 Ibid, 74.
80 Ibid, 75. 
81 Ibid, 75.
82 Defense of Japan, Ministry of Defence White Paper, 2015, Reference Section p. 4, available at http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/2015.html  
83 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan`s Strategic Options?, cited from "Japan's Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment," edited by Jain, et. al, World Scientific Publishing, 2013, p. 17
84 Defense of Japan, Ministry of Defence White Paper, 2015, p. 378, available at http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/2015.html 
85 Ibid, 17.
86 Ibid, 45.
87 Interview with a US military officer, 23 October 2015.
88 Ibid, 1. 
89 Interview with a Japanese defense policy expert, 30 October 2015.
90 Interview with a JSDF officer, 22 October 2015.
91 Samuels, Richard J; Politics, Security Policy, and Japan`s Cabinet Legislation Bureau: Who Elected These Guys Anyway?, Japan Policy Research Institute, March 2004, No. 99, p.1 
92 Ibid, 2.
93 Ibid, 5.
94 Ibid, 10.
95 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 75
96 Ibid, 75. 
97 Ibid, 75.
98 Interview with a JSDF officer, 26 October 2015
99 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 6
100 Ibid, 6.
101 Germany, which also lacks a post-war military tribunal, has already run into trouble. On September 4, 2009, a German officer operating in Afghanistan requested an air strike on two fuel trucks hijacked by the Taliban. The strike resulted in the deaths of, by some estimates, over 100 civilians. German forces responsible for the attack were subject to both German penal codes and international criminal codes, and were investigated by German public prosecutors. As a result of the incident the German Defense Minister and the German military`s top officer resigned, and several other officials were fired. See Der Spiegel`s reporting at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/kunduz-bombing-in-afghanistan-german-defense-ministry-sought-to-obscure-the-truth-a-684411.html 
102 Interview with a Japanese policy expert, 28 October 2015.
103 See Appendix E.
104 Interview with a JSDF officer, 29 October 2015.
105 Suzuki, Eisuki; Japan: "Farewell to One Country Pacifism," cited from The Diplomat, August 31, 2014, p. 6 
106 Ibid, 2.
107 Kamiya, Matake; Japanese Public Opinions about the Exercise of the Right of Collective Defense, Japan Policy Forum, No. 23, September 25, 2014, p. 1.
108 "Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislatoin to Ensure Japan`s Survival and Protect its People," from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made available at http://www.mofa.go./jp/jp/nsp/page23
109 Interview with a JSDF officer, 26 October 2015. 
110 Interview with a Japanese policy expert, 28 October 2015.
111 Interview with a JSDF officer, 29 October 2015.
112 Dudden, Alexis; A Push to End Pacifism Tests Japanese Democracy, cited in Current History, September 2015, p. 224-228.
113 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan: from Containment to Normalization, Stanford University Press, 2001, p. 90
114 Interview with a JSDF officer, 26 October 2015. 
115 Interview with a JSDF officer, 22 October 2015. See Appendix B for article IX.
116 Dudden, Alexis; A Push to End Pacifism Tests Japanese Democracy, cited in Current History, September 2015, p. 224-228.
117 Ozawa, Ichiro, Blueprint for a New Japan: The Rethinking of a Nation (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1994), p. 94-95.
118 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan`s Strategic Options?, cited from "Japan`s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment," edited by Jain, et. al, World Scientific Publishing, 2013, p. 20
119 Ibid, 20. 
120 Machiavelli, Nicolo; The Prince, translated by Marriott, W.K.; Dent & Sons Inc., 1928, p. 116
121 Interview with a defense policy expert, 30 October 2015.
122 Interview with a defense policy expert, 26 October 2015. 
123 Katahara, Eiichi; Japan`s Strategic Options?, cited from "Japan`s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment," edited by Jain, et. al, World Scientific Publishing, 2013, p. 16   

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About the Author 

Major John Wright is a U.S. Air Force officer and pilot. He has flown the T-37A, T-1A, C-17A, and RQ-4B aircraft, and has participated in both the most recent Iraqi campaign and Afghanistan campaign.

He is currently assigned to Tokyo, Japan as a fellow for the Mike & Maureen Mansfield Foundation, which is dedicated to US-Japan cooperation via US federal employee exchange via placement in the Japanese government. 

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Canadian Global Affairs Institute 

The Canadian Global Affairs Institute focuses on the entire range of Canada’s international relations in all its forms including (in partnership with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy), trade investment and international capacity building. Successor to the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI, which was established in 2001), the Institute works to inform Canadians about the importance of having a respected and influential voice in those parts of the globe where Canada has significant interests due to trade and investment, origins of Canada’s population, geographic security (and especially security of North America in conjunction with the United States) or the peace and freedom of allied nations. The Institute aims to demonstrate to Canadians the importance of comprehensive foreign, defence and trade policies which both express our values and represent our interests.

The Institute was created to bridge the gap between what Canadians need to know about Canadian international activities and what they do know. Historically Canadians have tended to look abroad out of a search for markets because Canada depends heavily on foreign trade. In the modern post-Cold War world, however, global security and stability have become the bedrocks of global commerce and the free movement of people, goods and ideas across international boundaries. Canada has striven to open the world since the 1930s and was a driving factor behind the adoption of the main structures which underpin globalization such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the International Trade Organization and emerging free trade networks connecting dozens of international economies. The Canadian Global Affairs Institute recognizes Canada’s contribution to a globalized world and aims to inform Canadians about Canada’s role in that process and the connection between globalization and security.

In all its activities the Institute is a charitable, non-partisan, non-advocacy organization that provides a platform for a variety of viewpoints. It is supported financially by the contributions of individuals, foundations, and corporations. Conclusions or opinions expressed in Institute publications and programs are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Institute staff, fellows, directors, advisors or any individuals or organizations that provide financial support to the Institute.

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