restricted access Japan’s Strategic Trajectory and Collective Self-Defense: Essential Continuity or Radical Shift?


The government of Abe Shinzō and various commentators tout Japan’s moves during 2014–15 to breach the ban on collective self-defense as moderation and continuity in postwar security policy. This article unpacks the supposed limitations on exercise of the right and marks this as a watershed moment in Japan’s development of a radical security trajectory as an alliance and international security partner. The changing international security environment and growing acceptance of the indivisibility of U.S.-Japan security interests, coupled with hollow domestic legal, political, and bureaucratic constraints, heighten the likelihood Japan will use force to assist the United States.