Opinion & Analysis

Constitutional tension and Japanese remilitarisation

Following the end of World War Two, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers and administrated by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. While occupying the nation, the US oversaw the drafting of a new constitution that prioritised democracy, individual freedoms and pacifism. Japan’s shift towards pacifism is enshrined in Article 9 of its Constitution and formed a central part of its foreign policy for decades. This research paper seeks to understand how Japan has shifted away from Article 9 and began the process of remilitarisation. Despite maintaining a small military capability, the Japan Self-Defence Force, Japan has relied heavily on its alliance with the US to protect its interests internationally. In recent decades, Japan has taken further steps to increase the size and strength of its military for defensive purposes but also to protect its essential interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

About the author

Oliver Leicester is a legal researcher with Finabel –  European Army Interoperability Centre.

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