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Japan as a ‘Global Pacifist State’

Its Changing Pacifism and Security Identity


Daisuke Akimoto

This book examines Japan’s changing pacifism and its implications for Japan’s security identity from 1945 to the present. To examine the shift in Japanese pacifism, this research employs the concept of ‘negative pacifism’ (Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution) and ‘positive pacifism’ (the Preamble of the Constitution) as an analytical framework. To analyse multiple factors which facilitated the shift in Japan’s pacifism, this study applies ‘analytical eclecticism’ and integrates the analytical framework (negative-positive pacifism) with orthodox international relations theories and approaches. In an application of analytical eclecticism, the author proposes four theoretical models of Japan’s security identity: (a) ‘pacifist state’ (classical liberalism/negative pacifism); (b) ‘UN peacekeeper’ (neo-liberalism/positive pacifism); (c) ‘normal state’ (classical realism/domestic pressure); and (d) ‘US ally’ (neo-realism/external-structural pressure). In addition to the four basic models above, this book attempts to reveal Japan’s ‘core security identity’ as a ‘global pacifist state’.


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Introduction Pacifism and Security Identity of Japan 19


19 Introduction Pacifism and Security Identity of Japan1 Japan’s security identity has been constantly changing and elusive.2 Indeed to the casual observer, it may seem to have exhibited schizo- phrenic tendencies.3 In spite of its infamous status as an ultra-national- istic ‘militarist state’ during the Pacific War, Japan became a ‘pacifist state’ as a result of defeat in the Second World War and thorough disar- mament during the occupation period.4 Based on the ideal of the so- called ‘Peace Constitution’, the Japanese government was determined to preserve its security, ‘trusting in the justice and faith of the peace- loving peoples of the world.’5 However, Japan started rebuilding its self-defence capabilities in response to requests from the United States after the outbreak of the 1950 Korean War. Although it was a part of the US-led alliance system during the Cold War, Japan refrained from mak- ing a military contribution to the Korea and Vietnam Wars. Moreover, 1 The revised version of Introduction was published in Electronic Journal of Contem- porary Japanese Studies (EJCJS). See Akimoto, ‘A Theoretical Analysis of Japan’s Changing Security Identity’. 2 ‘Security identity’ is defined as ‘a set of collectively held principals that have at- tracted broad political support regarding the appropriate role of state action in the security arena and are institutionalised into the policy-making process.’ Oros, Nor- malizing Japan, 9; and Weeks, ‘Softly, softly to Iraq’. This book, however, does not examine Japan’s general ‘identity’ or uniqueness of Japan (nihonjinron). For re- search on Japan’s identity,...

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