Militarization and Demilitarization in Contemporary Japan

Militarization and Demilitarization in Contemporary Japan

Militarization and Demilitarization in Contemporary Japan

Militarization and Demilitarization in Contemporary Japan

Synopsis

The intertwined issues of Japanese 'identity' and 'normality' are at the centre of the tension between internal and external pressures on Japanese defence and security policies. With chapters on peace thought, the militarisation and demilitarisation of language as well as the 'hard' aspects of the Japanese military build up in the 1980s and the response to the Gulf War in the 1990s, this study challenges many of the preconceived notions on Japanese defence and security policies and the policy making process in Japan.

Excerpt

It remains unfortunately true, as the new century approaches, that Japan is an underreported country. Despite significant increases in the amount of information and analysis now available, it remains the case that few aspects of Japan are discussed in comparable depth, or with similar assumptions about familiarity, to discussions of the United States, Britain, or other major countries. Differences of language and culture of course constitute a barrier, though less so than in the past. As the patterns of our post cold-war world consolidate, it is more than ever clear that the regional and global importance of Japan is increasing, often in ways more subtle than blatant. We should, to borrow a phrase from Ronald Dore, start 'taking Japan seriously', but we should do so with the clearest possible perception of the directions in which Japan is heading.

The Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series seeks to foster an informed and balanced, but not uncritical, understanding of Japan. One aim of the series is to show the depth and variety of Japanese institutions, practices and ideas. A second is, by using comparison, to see what lessons, positive and negative, can be drawn for other countries, and a third is to incorporate Japanese experience into the construction of mainstream theory in a variety of fields.

Echoes of Japan's role during the Second World War continue to reverberate around Asia, in part because of Japanese official reluc-tance to admit responsibility for many atrocious acts committed during that bleak period. During the first half of the 1990s these matters became a matter of public discussion within Japan to a much greater extent than before. The coincidence of the death of the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) at the same time as political change in Japan and the ending of the cold war forms the background to this debate, which reached a peak in 1995 with the fiftieth anniversary of Japan's surrender.

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