The July 1st decision by the ruling coalition to change the interpretation of the Article 9 of Japan’s pacifist constitution invited mixed reactions from scholars, experts and governments in the region and beyond, as well as heated debate at home. For some, the revision that certain conditions allow Japan to use force in collective defence, ( i.e. to use force in defence of Japan’s allies), is a move that merely gives Japan the same rights as other countries under the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. For others, Shinzo Abe’s controversial decision means significant reversal of Japan’s post-war pacifism that does not enjoy broad support at home and invokes concerns about Japan’s militarist past. Not surprisingly, Washington supports the decision, which would enable Tokyo to play stronger role in the U.S.-Japan alliance, while Beijing is keen to capitalize on the ambivalent reflection of the wartime atrocities on the part of Japan’s political elite.

To examine Japan’s turn to collective defence, the China Policy Institute has invited a number of Japan specialists to reflect on various issues related to the re-interpretation of Article 9. Contributors will address Japan’s domestic debate and reactions from abroad, the impact on U.S-Japan alliance and Sino-Japan relations, as well as changing regional security dynamics that shape Japan’s threat perception.

Contributors include:

Rikki Kersten, Murdoch University, Australia, The Democratic Deficit of Collective Self-Defence in Japan.

June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami, USA, Abe Faces China.

Sebastian Maslow, German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, Japan, Japan’s Security (R)evolution.

Kei Koga, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Interpreting Japan’s right to collective self-defense.

Corey Wallace, University of Auckland, New Zealand, Abe’s Cabinet Reshuffle: Implications for Collective Self-Defence Legislation.

Alex Calvo,  Nagoya University, Japan, Tokyo expands its options beyond the US-Japan alliance.