chapter  5
37 Pages


Throughout the Cold War and the early years of the post-Cold War period, Japanese defense policy has been designed more to manage conflicting U.S. and domestic political pressures than to relate to the international balance of forces. The ever-present potential for political conflict over defense prevents the ruling party from establishing a strategic doctrine that would justify Japan’s defense buildup. The only consensus that exists is confined to a gradual defense buildup subject to severe constraints within the U.S. security guarantee. The general aversion of the ruling party, the opposition parties, and the public to dealing with defense issues and their desire to avoid conflict ensure that the formation of defense constraints, and changes in them, will be incremental rather than drastic in nature.