by Toshi Yoshihara
American Enterprise Institute
August 27, 2014
National Security Outlook
Over the past two decades, Japan has increasingly viewed its security as tied to developments outside its surrounding waters. However, Japan’s long-standing interpretation of Article 9 of its constitution prohibited the nation from any military activity that was not directly tied to its self-defense. This interpretation included Japan denying itself the UN-sanctioned right to engage in collective self-defense—something the United States did not even ask Germany or Italy to forgo after World War II—and meant Japan was not a “normal” country. With a desire to play a more significant regional role and under the pressure of a rising and aggressive China, the Abe government has begun to shake off these self-imposed restrictions—a turn for which many in the United States had been hoping for some time.

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