On Geopolitics

A More Assertive China Drives Japan to Respond in Kind

Rodger Baker
Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor
Aug 14, 2020 | 15:56 GMT
Japanese Self-Defense Forces stand guard at a park in Tokyo on Oct. 22, 2019.

Japanese Self-Defense Forces stand guard at a park in Tokyo on Oct. 22, 2019.

(CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan has long operated beyond the pacifist constraints of its post-war constitution, but a growing and more assertive China is accelerating Tokyo's development of offensive its capabilities. Japan's core strategic imperatives are shaped by economic concerns -- the islands are resource-poor and thus import-dependent. This shaped its post-World War II Yoshida Doctrine, in which Japan largely outsourced its national security to the United States while focusing its energy on economic development at home. With Japan less confident in its dependence on the United States, the same vulnerability is now driving Tokyo to take on a more active role in its neighborhood. Japan's increased economic and security engagement in the Indo-Pacific provides a regional alternative to China for Southeast Asian nations, but may raise tensions with neighboring South Korea. ...

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