On 19 September 2014, the Abe administration literally forced the new security legislation through the upper house while thousands of Japanese citizens shouted protest outside of the national diet building. What has PM Shinzo Abe achieved in terms of security policy?
The outcome is mixed at best. Abe's approach has aggravated the division of Japanese politics and society, particularly over the questions relating to constitution and democracy. Regarding security policy, there is obvious progress concerning the management of security relations with the United States and friendly nations as well as international peace keeping operations. The achievement as to the right to collective self-defense, however, is only half-way to the full exercise of the right. The outcome will change the nature of constitutional debate in coming years to the detriment of the original intention of Abe.
Yoshihide Soeya is Professor of political science and international relations at the Faculty of Law of Keio University. He served as the Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies of the same university for six years until September 2013, and currently is the Director of its Center for Contemporary Korean Studies. Most recently, Dr. Soeya was a Japan Scholar of the Woodrow Wilson Center, in Washington D.C. from September 2013 to January 2014, and a Korea Foundation Fellow affiliated with the ASAN Institute in Seoul in March-May 2014. His areas of interest are politics and security in East Asia, and Japanese diplomacy and its external relations. His most recent publications in English include “The Evolution of Japan’s Public Diplomacy: Haunted by its Past History,” Jan Melissen and Yul Sohn, eds., Understanding Public Diplomacy in East Asia: Middle Powers in a Troubled Region (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), "The Middle-Power Challenge in East Asia : An Opportunity for Co-operation Between South Korea and Japan,” Global Asia, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer 2014) [co-authored with Geun Lee]; and “A ‘Normal’ Middle Power: Interpreting Changes in Japanese Security Policy in the 1990s and After,” in Yoshihide Soeya, Masayuki Tadokoro and David A. Welch, eds., Japan as a ‘Normal Country’ ?: A Country in Search of its Place in the World (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011). He received Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1987, majoring in world politics.
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