ASSESSMENTS

Normalizing Japan's Military Isn't a Straight Sprint, It's a Set of Hurdles

MIN READAug 24, 2017 | 09:15 GMT

Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces have more freedom now than they have had in the past to aid allies.

Members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces have more freedom now than they have had in the past to aid allies and participate in peacekeeping missions.

(ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan's military may start embracing the adage that the best defense is a good offense. Since the end of World War II, Article 9 of the country's constitution has strictly limited the capabilities of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, prohibiting belligerency and military aggression. But over the past two decades, Tokyo has slowly been adjusting and broadening the scope of its military ambitions, taking steps down a path to complete normalization. This process has not been seamless, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tempered his ambitious timeline in the face of popular opposition. But beyond political challenges, the largest hurdles that Tokyo will have to contend with are fiscal and demographic....

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