Japan Learns to Accept the Military
The great struggle in Japanese national security policy since World War II has been over the legitimacy of its armed forces. For more than half a century, constitutional restrictions on the deployment of the military have led to the world’s second-largest democratic economy playing a far smaller global role than its peers. Efforts to change that have always faced implacable resistance from a Japanese public scarred by the war and suspicious of any hint of militarism.
Now the heroic and indispensable actions of Self-Defense Forces (Japan’s military) in the wake of the March 11 earthquake may have changed Japan’s relations with its military forever. A new acceptance of the SDF by Japan’s public may emerge from this tragedy, thereby changing how Tokyo chooses to normalize the role of the military in protecting Japan’s interests abroad.
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