Southeast Asia

Japanese Maritime Assistance: A Status Quo Plus

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The prospect of a “normal” Japan is welcomed by some and approached cautiously by others; the related debate over whether Japan is undergoing defense policy revolution or evolution is well-developed among regional specialists. Neither interpretation seems entirely faithful to empirical evidence. If we take Japan’s maritime cooperation with Southeast Asia as emblematic of Tokyo’s expanding role in regional security, we can argue that Tokyo is ushering in important but incremental changes to defense policy that are consistently anchored to established institutional patterns. Firmly biased toward tightly civilian-controlled, nonmilitarized approaches to security, these patterns place limits on future defense options that… Read More »Japanese Maritime Assistance: A Status Quo Plus