chapter  7
27 Pages

THE STRAINS ON JAPANESE PACIFISM

A revival of ‘militarism’ in Japan is not going to be easy. Apart from the international implications of such a revival, there are domestic obstacles. The so-called ‘Peace Constitution’ is still popular among the people; the opposition parties continue to question the wisdom of a substantial increase in defence expenditure; and the majority of people are content with the present size of the SDF. However, the country’s mood is changing because of the changes in the international economic and political environment together with the structural changes in Japanese society itself which is undermining the militancy of the Kakushin parties. This has encouraged the ‘hawks’ to advocate increased military expenditure in order ultimately to create an independent deterrent. Increasing Soviet military presence in the Far East has added credibility to these arguments. The Japanese leadership, in search of an international role commensurate with its economic power, may eventually succumb to the temptation of becoming a political and military superpower Will the hawks succeed? No unambiguous answers can be given but at the moment the wind seems to be blowing in their favour. Domestic obstacles to a significant acceleration in the Japanese military build-up do not seem to be unsurmountable.