The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 36. 2014       

September 8, 2014

New Articles
Two months have passed since the declaration by the Abe cabinet of the change in the official interpretation of Article 9, expanding the right to self-defense "collectively" to include allies: the United States. Together with the new state secrecy law and the attack on Article 9, it is among the keystones of the administration to bypass Constitutional processes for fundamental change of the political order at a time of mounting China-Japan tensions. This issue offers multiple perspectives on Japan's changing security profile.

Bryce Wakefield and Craig Martin examine the Constitutional issues and the political consequences of Abe's moves, concluding not only that it risks Japanese involvement in Asian wars but that the most profound immediate effects may be their crippling impact on the future of Japanese democracy.
Asato Ikeda translates an interview with the illustrious animator Miyazaki Hayao encapsulating his lifelong reflections on the Asia-Pacific War, his changing views on Japan, the Self-Defense Forces and recent attempts to revise the constitution. He faults the Abe regime's attempted revision or elimination of Article 9 while short-circuiting popular discussion of the issues. 

But what is the nature of Japan's Article 9, the peace provision? Beginning with the simple question of what pacifism is and is not, Guy Almog examines what he calls the myth of Japan's pacifist constitution from its inception in the writing of the text to the present. Almog argues that the reality both of Japan's powerful Self-Defense Forces and the US-Japan military alliance and nuclear shield are fundamentally at odds with the view of a pacifist Japan.

Lastly, Vince Scappatura looks at the place of Australia in the "pivot to Asia" which the Obama administration launched in late 2011 as a response to  resurgent Chinese power . Against strong popular support in Australia for involvement in a new arms race, Scappatura urges caution, calling attention to the details of the balance of power between the US and China, and warns that Australia should not permit itself to be trapped between the two superpowers.

With this Newsletter readers may note a series of changes, beginning with the design of the Newsletter that respond to suggestions in our survey. We thank all for helping us to improve the journal.  
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