The question of the connection between Japan's economic power and its future role in security has exercised the minds of scholars working in the fields of IR and the connected field of International Political Economy (IPE), who, regardless of nationality and theoretical perspective, have come to view economic power as the key form of power in the post-Cold War world. As academic debates on US hegemonic decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s showed, even though scholars from the realist, liberal and Marxist camps may diverge in their conclusions about which state remains dominant in the international system, they do converge in their implicit assumption that after the Cold War and in an interdependent world military power is declining relative in value to economic power, and that it is the possession of the latter which is the decisive factor in determining the rise to dominance of states.1 Thus, Japan's economic strength means that it has been discussed as breaking the mould of traditional great power status and (possibly prematurely) as a future candidate for hegemony.2 Following on from these assumptions about the importance of economic power and its likely provision to Japan of greater influence in the international system, it then becomes possible to view Japan's acquisition of greater military power as a move in apparent contradiction to general trends in security and the international political economy. The result has been that scholars from the fields of IR and IPE also have begun to ask if it would not be more rational for Japan to seek to contribute to international security primarily by means of economic power.