During the cold war basicly three groups dominated elite discourse in Japan. The first was pragmatic conservatives, led by Yoshida Shigeru, who became the mainstream within the LDP* and governed effectively for most of the cold war. The second was anti-mainstream revisionists within the LDP, led at first by Hatoyama Ichiro and Kishi Nobusuke, and, later, by Nakasone Yasuhiro. Both groups of conservatives were confronted by antimilitarists on the left who wanted unilateral pacifism. By the end of the cold war, the anti-mainstream Right had accepted many of the constraints imposed by the pragmatists, while the latter maintained power by pacifying the pacifists, many of whom were progressive intellectuals who believed the only threat to Japan was economic. After the cold war, however, the balance of power within the conservative camp shifted dramatically, but no group suffered more than the pacifists. Besides some real 'conspiracy theories' soaked whith Japanese 'Children of the sungod' superiority the one valid point the LDP was able to stress was the fact of an alleged U.S. financial siege of Japan "before" Pearl Harbor, mentioned in Japanese textbooks. In fact as we are able to show based on documents that have been de-calssified 8 to 10 years ago only, there was truth in that.
Files of information released by the Americans side the Holocaust Era Records Act, show among others that from 1937 to 1940 a dozen experts in U.S. financial agencies analyzed Japan's balance of payments, gold production and reserves, scrap gold collection,liquidation of foreign investments, and other financial data.They predicted when Japan would be bankrupt and have to stop the war in China, always six to eighteen months in the future. It was a comforting thought to policy makers, but the analyses were wrong. From 1938 to the summer of 1940 the Bank of Japan secretly accumulated $160 million in the New York agency of the Yokohama Specie Bank. It began with funds removed from London. It was a sum equal to three years' oil purchases from the U.S. The YSB did not report the deposits, as required by law. Bank examiners discovered the fraud in August 1940. Japan raced to withdraw the money during the first half 1941. The fraud accelerated thinking in Washington toward a dollar freeze, instead of commodity embargos, as the most deadly sanction. The freeze order was drafted in March 1941. As is well known, It was imposed on 26 July 1941 when Japan occupied southern Indochina. After the freeze, Japanese diplomats and agents proposed many ideas to unfreeze dollars in order to reopen trade. Dean Acheson, the effective manager of the freeze policy, rejected them all. In August 1941 the Japanese government, through Mitsui, made an extraordinary offer to barter $60 million of silk for $60 million of US commodities, mainly oil. Barter would not require unfreezing dollars, they thought. Strangely, they chose as spokesman a Roosevelt-hating lawyer named Raoul Desvernine. Acheson and Vice President Wallace rejected the scheme on 15 September, about the time the Japanese government was reaching a decision for war.
Furthrtmore features of the prewar situation from records that were not classified but that are omitted from other history books. thus there are a large number of vulnerability studies, of Japan's foreign trade written in April 1941 by committees of trade experts of U.S. agencies under direction of the Export Control Administration. Reviewing the oil and tanker situation in both Japan and the U.S. for example one will here find that FDR blamed an imaginary shortage of gasoline in America as a reason for the freeze of Japan. There was no shortage despite the loan of 20% of US tankers to Britain. I explain why. I reviewed Japan's trade with America. Two-thirds of Japan¡'s dollar earnings were due to exports of raw silk to America. (When war began in Europe all other currencies became blocked and inconvertible.) The Great Depression and rayon substitution destroyed the silk dress industry. After 1930 nearly all Japan¡'s silk went for American women's stockings, which was a strong market despite the Depression. On 15 May 1939, however, DuPont introduced nylon stockings at the New York Worlds Fair. They were a great success. By 1941 nylons gained 30% of the market, and were on track to 100% in 1943 if no war. The market loss of $100 million per year would have been a disaster for Japan if it had not gone to war. What P.1 of this two part investigation showed is Roosevelt's idea of a financial siege of Japan in fact backfired by exacerbating rather than defusing Japan's aggression. And for sure the attack on Pearl Harbor was not the result of a deliberate Roosevelt strategy (as right-wing conspiracytheorists claim), but a Roosevelt miscalculation. See Case Study:
Deep divisions within the Japanese body politic of the past were reconciled temporarily, first under the banner of Prince Konoye's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, with disastrous consequences, and later under the banner of Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru's Yoshida Doctrine. Today we are witness to an active debate about the value of the strategic doctrine that contributed so much to postwar Japanese prosperity and stability. The Yoshida Doctrine has not yet been replaced, but by making Japan more muscular and by incrementally eliminating many of the constraints on the use of force, revisionists have made sure that its contours are definitively changed. Japan's junior partnership with the United States may be slipping into history. If so, the question is how a more muscular Japan will position itself. Will it be a fully entangled global partner, or a fully hedged independent power?
A great deal has changed since the late 1980s, when Japan was known an economic giant and political pygmy. Like most historical changes, this one is over determined. It has been catalyzed by international events beyond Japan's control, by domestic political struggles, societal change, and institutional reform, and by the 'transformation' of the defense establishment of Japan's alliance partner. I start this review beginning with four international catalysts, each of which is connected directly to the first fundamental shift in the global and regional balances of power since 1945. Together, after a hiccup or two of uncertainty, these catalysts stimulated Japanese strategists to imagine the transformation of the domestic institutions of Japanese grand strategy. The first was the epochal demise of the Soviet Union. With the end of the Cold War, security in Western Europe walls not only settled, but largely disconnected from the problems of East Asia . For the first time since the East Asian quadrilateral was assembled in 1905, the balance of power in the region is being determined solely by fluctuations among the four powers.
Tokyo's judgment of what was happening was uncertain, and, as a consequence, its political support for Boris Yeltsin's reforms was late in coming. Indeed, Japanese statesmen arrived at the barricades only after Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President George H. W. Bush, and Prime Minister John Major had already locked arms and pledged solidarity against the counterrevolutionary Communists. Even then, even after it was clear that the global security environment had changed, Tokyo had trouble settling on a strategic direction. All the familiar choices for achieving autonomy, prestige, strength, and wealth presented themselves anew, and signs of oscillation between the U.S. and Asia became visible. A decade of trade friction with the United States suggested to some that this was a chance to escape from under Washington's thumb. Others justified a new Asianism by linking regional solidarity to the dramatic rise in Japanese investment in Southeast Asia after the 1985 Plaza Accord and to the rise of economic regionalism in Europe and North America. If Southeast Asian leaders such as Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad were encouraging Japan to join in a new regional solidarity, why should Japan not tilt toward a rising Asia and lead it into prosperity? Why should it continue to hug the United States closely now that the raison d'etre for the alliance had slipped away?
Two things were clear: the military balance was shifting rapidly, and Japanese strategists were not ready. The changes they ultimately made were a matter of slow unfolding rather than of decisive discontinuity. On the military side, it took a while for them to appreciate that nothing would ever be the same. When Japan's Basic Defense Policy was written in 1957-and for the next half century-Japanese defense policy was Soviet-oriented. Even though the Soviets never really developed the capability to invade the Japanese home islands, Japan's ships, planes, and tanks were configured to repel a Soviet invasion from the north. This exclusively defensive defense (senshu boei) was politically inspired. Force levels were determined by the need for a balanced posture, a vague term that resulted in a fixed number of twelve infantry divisions and eight anti-aircraft units distributed evenly across the archipelago, rather than to optimize resistance to attack?
The draw down of Russian forces in the Far East was swift and very dramatic. The Maritime Self-Defense Force had reported sighting Soviet naval vessels in the Sea of Japan in 1987, but only nine Russian ships in 1996. No more than 5 percent of Soviet destroyers remained in the Russian Pacific fleet. The central justification for the alliance and for Japanese security policy had to be replaced-and eventually was. After considerable time, debate, and American exhortation, Tokyo began to shift its military focus from Hokkaido and northern Honshu, where it had faced the threat of Soviet invasion, southward, where assets could more easily be deployed against perceived Chinese threats. It reduced the number of Ground Self Defense Force tanks, improved mobility, and shifted resources into naval and special operations.
On the broader strategic front, two major international crises intervened before Tokyo could conclude that it was unwise to set off on an independent regional security strategy. These crises, the first in the Middle East and the second on the Korean Peninsula, did more to transform perceptions than any structural shift in the military balance. If the end of the cold war was the "big bang" that changed the global security architecture, the Gulf War in 1991 and the first North Korean nuclear crisis in 1993-94 were catalysts for a long-sought Japanese awakening to the importance of security. It was not pretty watching the Japanese government fail miserably in its first test of the so-called New World Order. At first, it had all seemed so straightforward. Some in the ruling LOP, led by its secretary-general, Ozawa Ichiro, wanted to dispatch Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East as part of the multilateral, UN-sanctioned peacekeeping force being assembled by the United States. Ozawa and his allies understood the extant ban on overseas dispatch, but they insisted that this deployment would be consistent with the preamble of the Japanese Constitution, which acknowledged responsibilities to the international community. They therefore contrived their own interpretation: "collective security" (shudanteki anzen hosho) could cover participation with other states, and without challenging the ban on "collective self-defense" (shudanteki jieiken).
By the time the Diet opened on 12 October 1990 to debate dispatch of the SDF to the Persian Gulf, however, Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki (the latest heir to the Yoshida mantle) had grown cautious about this reinterpretation. On that very day Ozawa led a delegation of top LOP officials to meet Prime Minister Kaifu to propose that the SDF be permitted to use arms under UN command. The prime minister reportedly responded by claiming that his hands were tied: "The CLB director general has told me that this is 'constitutionally impossible.''' N6t surprisingly, this did not go down well with Ozawa or other senior party officials. They soon left the LOp, after having first sworn a vendetta against bureaucrats in general and against the CLB in particularly.
For now, though, the pragmatic mainstream· still enjoyed the upper hand. CLB Director General Kudo Atsuo declared in the Diet that because the UN's Kuwait-based peacekeeping force planned for the possibility of violence, its members carried arms and therefore could not be supported by SDF troops. Although Kudo did allow a difference between the "use of force" (buryoku koshi) and the use of arms, a difference that later would constitutionally justify participation in peacekeeping operations (PKO), it was not enough for Japanese participation in this warP In January 1991 coalition forces acted without Japanese support; the CLB even rebuffed JDA proposals to send transport planes to rescue refugees, on the grounds that the JDA was authorized to fly overseas only for training purposes. The U.S.-led coalition in the Persian Gulf was mobilized with $1) billion raised in a special tax on Japanese citizens but without Japan's physical presence in the theater of operations. Japan's financial support was not even acknowledged by the Kuwaiti government. It was not until hostilities had ceased and the MOFA could declare that sending ships was a matter of "navigational safety" rather than a wartime deployment, that the MSDF swept thirty-four mines from the Persian Gulf. This first-ever overseas deployment of the SDF left the bitter taste of far too little, far too late in everyone's mouth. In March 1qq1, Ambassador Michael Armacost cabled Washington:
A large gap was revealed between Japan's desire for recognition as a great power and its willingness and ability to assume these risks and responsibilities For all its economic prowess, Japan is not in the great power league Opportunities for dramatic initiatives ... were lost to caution ... [and] Japan's crisis management system proved totally inadequate.( Declassified cable from Ambassador Michael Armacost posted by the Nation~ Security Archives on 14 December 2005 at http://www.gwu.edu/-nsarchiv/NSAEBE NSAEBB175/index.htm.)
All Tokyo had to show for having tied itself in knots over participation in the first Gulf War was humiliation: international criticism of its checkbook diplomacy. Ozawa and his anti-mainstream allies became more determined than ever to take control from the weak-kneed mainstream and the CLB. Specifically, they vowed to end the 1955 system that had bogged Japan down just when action was most urgently needed. They knew that pacifism had become a flimsy shield and that Japan should no longer expect to get away with international peacekeeping from deep within the rear area.
If the Gulf War tested Tokyo's preparedness to be normal, the 1993-94 Korean crisis, Northeast Asia's first bona fide security crisis after the end of the cold war, tested its commitment to the alliance with the United States. Once again Japan was not ready. In 1993 the United States discovered a secret North Korean nuclear weapons program. After considerable bluster and brinksmanship on both sides, the Agreed Framework was signed in October 1994 that defused the crisis temporarily. Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States would provide heavy fuel oil and lightwater-reactor technology, and in exchange Pyongyang would freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear program. This did not happen, and neither did the North Korean regime reform or collapse before the next crisis erupted in 2002. What did come to pass, however, was the realization that Japan was not prepared to act in concert with the United States in the event of a military crisis on the peninsula. Operational plans were limited or nonexistent, and the future of the alliance was suddenly in jeopardy.
North Korea was a big problem, but it also was a big opportunity. Its open hostility served those who sought a stronger alliance and, especially, a stronger Japan. In addition to stimulating the new alliance framework announced in 1996, Pyongyang tested its missiles in Japanese airspace in 1998-leading immediately to approval by the Diet of an intelligence satellite program. In 2001 one of its boats engaged the Japanese Coast Guard in Japan's first postwar military encounter. It was just what Japanese defense planners and conservative politicians had been waiting for. Now they could make their case for new strategic thinking about Northeast Asian security with a credible threat in full view of the nation. As one JDA official remarked to Paul Daniels, a U.S. Army analyst, North Korea provided a reasonable excuse for Japan to expand its military.
In retrospect, then, it is clear that both crises were functional in ways that the larger demise of the Soviet Union was not. They catalyzed debate on fundamental issues about national security and the U.S. alliance. A declassified March 1991 U.S. Embassy cable lists several that were in playas a direct result of the Gulf War experience: (1) the continued efficacy of the renunciation of the use of force; (2) the importance of contributing manpower to the international community in times of crisis; (3) a more equitable division of roles and missions within the U.S.-Japan alliance; and (4) the desirability of a more independent foreign policy. The crisis on the peninsula raised additional issues, such as the need to upgrade Japanese intelligence and, especially, to enhance interoperability within the alliance. Together, these incidents drove home to the Japanese public something they and many political leaders had never wished to believe: that the world and, indeed, their own neighborhood were dangerous places. They were learning, moreover, that security was not free, and it might not even be cheap any longer.
Certainly the United States was upping the ante, with a good deal of prodding from U.S. alliance managers. In 1994, for the first time in twenty years, the Japanese government comprehensively reviewed its security posture and issued a new National Defense Program Outline (NDPO, or taik. Although it retained the Basic Defense Force Concept, the new NDPO upgraded the alliance in the event of a regional crisis. Thanks to the peacekeeping legislation that had passed in the Diet earlier that year, the new NDPO also added two new missions to the SDF portfolio: disaster relief and international peacekeeping. At the time, the new NDPO was celebrated as having broadened the scope of Japan's commitments, and certainly this was the case when new alliance guidelines were issued the following year. Now Japan would take fuller responsibility for defense of the areas surrounding Japan (shahen), a move that one analyst has called"a significant upgrade of operability in responding to regional contingencies. But Tokyo insisted on preserving a degree of strategic ambiguity. MOFA presied the awkward line that the term "areas surrounding Japan" was "situational" and not geographical. Some analysts could now insist that the alliance could enjoy expanded possibilities for joint operations, though most were convinced that the ambiguity was retained in order to avoid offending Beijing. The greatest ambiguity remained: Was Japan accepting a U.S.-Japan division of labor in regional security, or was it avoiding one? Was the Yoshida Doctrine unraveling, or was it entering a new and more sophisticated phase?
These questions were being raised just in time for the next major shift in the regional balance of power-the rise of China. The 1995 NDPO did not mention China as a threat, but it did touch on nuclear arsenals in neighboring states, and so justified enhancing forces in the south while cutting two divisions in Hokkaido. The 2004 National Program Defense Guidelines-NDPG (in English) was the first national security document to openly identity a potential threat from the People's Republic of China, noting that the PRC was modernizing its forces and expanding its range at sea. Tokyo's defense specialists are convinced that China intends to establish itself as the world's second superpower and are concerned that domination of Japan will be part of the process. But China's power was shaping up to be far more complex than the Soviet Union's ever was. China turned out to be, after all, determined to be rich as well as strong. On the economic front, the PRC has already established itself as the largest trading partner Japan has ever had. Japan cannot get enough of the Chinese market or of Chinese goods. In 20°5, bilateral trade exceeded $225 billion, the seventh record year in a row. Not surprisingly, this has led to a redirection of foreign investment. In the first few years of the 2000S, Japan reduced direct foreign investment to the United States by more than half and increased it to China by more than 300 percent. By 2003, China had become responsible for more than 90 percent of the growth of Japan's exports, and Japanese companies employed more than ten million Chinese. This is, of course, a mixed blessing for Japan. Many insist that the two economies are structurally complementary-Japan excels in R & D upstream and in after-sales service downstream, China provides raw materials, labor, and assembly skills-but others express serious concerns? China is a source of Japanese wealth, but it may be using these relationships in a "rich nation, strong army program of development with unique Chinese characteristics that could lead to regional hegemony.
Many in Tokyo are concerned that the Chinese market is luring Japanese firms into complacency about China's real intentions. Beijing, rightly believe, is merely using trade with Japan as way to enrich itself so that it can acquire a fuller arsenal. And even if this is not the case, few senior Japanese leaders are confident there is stable civilian control of the Chinese military. They focus on the divergence of national objectives rather than on the economic complementarities, which they see as temporary. They also focus on the simple geopolitical fact that no vessel can reach Japan from the south without passing through the waters adjacent to Taiwan. If China seizes control of Taiwan, they warn, it seizes control of Japan's sea-lanes as well. This exaggerates Taiwan's geostrategic importance, but Japanese strategists insist that Chinese control of Taiwan would enhance China's coercive power. China and Japan are two of the world's largest energy importers, and they have never been great powers at the same time. There have been repeated Chinese submarine and other incursions into the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone, where the Chinese navy is suspected of mapping the seabed to deny access to U.S. warships in case of a Taiwan contingency. Security specialists are also concerned that China is acquiring missiles for "sea denial" and that the PLA's buildup seems aimed well beyond any Taiwan contingency. As Beijing has asserted territorial claims and extended itself in the East and South China seas, Japanese security planners have accelerated plans for their own force transformation. In fact, China has supplanted North Korea and has replaced the Soviet Union as the central object of Japanese security planning.
Meanwhile, a 2005 report of the U.S. Congressional Research Service concluded that China is supplanting Japan as the leader in Asia. China's rise promises to have enormous consequences for U.S. power in the region as well. With close to one hundred thousand troops stationed in Northeast Asia, the United States is still the preeminent military power and remains committed to a strong presence.( Testimony Of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, United States Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, before the House Armed Services Commity ' United States House Of Representatives, Regarding U.S. Pacific Command Post 31 March 2004.) Nevertheless, decreasing U.S. participation in emerging regional economic institutions and a planned transformation of overseas troop deployments together suggest decreased American influence in the region. Although the United States increasingly depends on Asian finance and on commodity trade, an Asian regional trade and financial system has emerged without U.S. leadership or, in some important cases, even without U.S. participation. It was clear by 2004, when Beijing took the diplomatic lead away from the United States in the six-party talks, that the United States no longer had the ability to disarm North Korea peacefully without Chinese support.
It was clear that the bipolar balance of the long postwar era had long since given way to a brief unipolar moment," after which U.S. dominance was challenged by China, by the Europeans, and by non-state actors around the world. Suddenly, the terms of ideological conflict had shifted from arguments about capitalism and authoritarianism to arguments about theocracy and secularism. National arsenals that had bristled with conventional arms and strategic nuclear weapons had to be reconfigured to enhance communications and control; the great powers could no longer count on proxies to fight their wars; and direct deterrence could no longer be their core strategy. For the United States, this meant force transformation. For Japan, this meant that planners no longer had the luxury of focusing on Soviet conventional warfare, which had always been a low probability event. Now they had to contemplate missile attacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), terrorist attacks at home, and Chinese coercion on the high seas-all of them lower intensity but higher probability events. Whereas security once had meant averting great power conflict, now it involved deterring regional conflict and minimizing casualties. Japan is no longer a simple cog in an anti-Soviet deterrent, and it has had to recalculate the prospect that the United States might not stand by its side indefinitely. Now it has to cope with Chinese economic power while defending its territorial claims and contributing to global public goods with more than cash. Japan was expected-and became determined-to contribute positively to the stable functioning of the international security environment. To do this, the SDF had to begin functioning as a modern armed force.
Japan's strategists know this and are well aware that their military transformation lags far behind the U.S. one. As one U.s. Department of Defense (DoD) official noted publicly in 2005, it still was not even clear if Japan could even plan for a military contingency.37 Japan's China strategy is inchoate at best, with the economic relationship running hot and the political one running cold. The service branches have acquired new capabilities (Japan has even elevated its Coast Guard to near service branch status), but they have not been integrated under a joint command. Intelligence remains underdeveloped, and for some roles and missions the Japanese military is not yet capable. Still, the Japanese defense establishment is in the midst of significant change, much of which has been enabled by changes in the domestic political environment.
These changes are of three varieties: sociological, ideological, and institutional. None is the direct result of shifts in global or regional balances of power, and each is related to domestic political competition. The most prominent sociological change has been in the status of the Self-Defense Forces. Although Japanese remain more likely than any other people to insist that they would not take up arms even to defend their homeland, and although some question the willingness of even the SDF to engage in war fighting, the forces' status has never been higher. Fifteen years after the end of the Pacific War, the SDF were barely accepted as a necessary evil, and in 1973, James Auer reported that the Japanese military was still not a respected profession.
When SDF personnel express a desire for higher status in society, their referent is the citizen soldier of normal nations rather than the samurai, the imperial servant of the past. To the contra~ Japanese soldiers today seem eager to disassociate themselves from their imperial predecessors and to show to the Japanese population, to our neighbors, and to the international community that we have changed. Their effort to depict the new Japanese military as warm and fuzzy and their embrace of liberal values, such as democracy and civilian control, is evident everywhere, from the recruiting manga produced by the MOD public relations officials to the curriculum of the Defense Academy.
A second sociological change has been generational. The percentage of young people holding a favorable impression of the SDF has never been higher. At the time of the Gulf War in February 1991, less than 57 percent had a favorable impression. In February 2006, just five months before the GSDF troops were withdrawn from Iraq, more than 81 percent held a favorable impression. Those whose impression is unfavorable fell sharply, from 31 percent to just 13 percent in the same period. Recruitment, which is made more difficult by the sharp decline in the population of eligible males, is assisted by the newly positive image of the SDF. A generation gap within the political class also is emerging. In November 2001,167 conservative young Diet members crossed party lines to create the Young Diet Members' Group to Establish a Security Framework for the New Century. Led by Ishiba Shigeru of the LDP and Maehara Seiji of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the group made up nearly one-quarter of the Diet and nearly half of all members born after 1960. Rather than focus on their elders' traditional issues of defense technology, budgets, and equipment procurement, this group urged Japan to "defend its national interest based upon 'realism' . They insisted that Japan get to work on a grand strategy and even discussed such topics as maritime resources in the East China Sea-including drafting legislation outside normal channels. Internal party organs such as the LDP's Policy Affairs Research Council, which had been instrumental in tying politicians and bureaucrats together on defense policy issues, were being openly supplanted by new forms of interparty policy coordination-led by forty-something’s.
Within the LDP, meanwhile, a separate intergenerational power play was under way that led to a new party-and national security-strategy. After a decade of failed efforts by Ozawa Ichiro and others to wrest power from the LDP mainstream, anti-mainstream conservatives within the party used shifts in regional and world politics to seize power from within. In 2000, Koizumi Junichiro (whose father had been a defense minister), Abe Shinzu (whose grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, had been an architect of the Manchurian occupation), and other direct heirs to the anti-mainstream agenda gained control of the LDP and, thereby, of the Japanese government. They immediately set to work to transform the institutions of national security policymaking. They had the unqualified support of young conservatives with considerable expertise in security affairs, such as Ishiba Shigeru-not to mention the support of the United States. The rise of a new generation of revisionists was surely the most consequential political change in Japan since 1945.
Their first target was to establish firmer political control over the bureaucracy and they did so by elevating the policy role of the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei). In an unprecedented assault on the prerogatives of elite bureaucrats, in 2001 three major changes were made. The first strengthened the agenda-setting power of the prime minister and increased the institutional resources available exclusively to him. The second reformed the structure of the Cabinet Secretariat; and the third established the Cabinet Office (Naikakufu). Now the prime minister can submit proposals to the cabinet on basic principles on important policies" without having first to secure broad ministerial support. Because these basic principles include a wide array of national security policies and budgetary powers, the Japanese prime minister has never been more presidential. Moreover, the number of special advisers and private secretaries available exclusively to the prime minister has expanded, and the authority of the Cabinet Secretariat to draft policy, as well as to coordinate policies from the line ministries and agencies, has also been enlarged. The secretariat is responsibly to the cabinet but also serves as a direct advisory body to the prime minister and is "in charge of final coordination at the highest level. By the end of 2004 fifteen offices within the Cabinet Secretariat bore responsibility for policy development across a wide range of issues. Whereas the number of staff in 1993 had been under two hundred, by 2004 the total was closer to seven hundred. This bulking up of the Cabinet Secretariat altered the balance of power between the ministries and between the government and the LDP's policy organs. So did the creation in January 2001 of the Cabinet Office, which absorbed the former Prime Minister's Office and several other units, including the Defense Agency. Now the prime minister had the power to establish ministers for special missions, and they can request materials from the line ministries and report directly to the prime minister.
These reforms have resulted in a significantly more flexible policy apparatus and stronger executive leadership, thereby reducing government response time during crises. They were put in motion before the Koizumi team took office, by Ozawa Ichiro and Hashimoto Ryutaro, for whom security was only one of many reforms. But the first palpable changes came after September 11, 2001, when Prime Minister Koizumi moved with striking speed to craft Japan's response to U.S. calls for support in the 'war on terror.' Koizumi established within the Cabinet Secretariat the ad hoc Iraq Response Team (Iraku Mondai Taisaku Honbu), which he chaired. He assigned a small group of JDA and MOFA officials to Assistant Cabinet Secretary Omori Keiji to develop a new law to enable SDF deployment. In early April 2002, the group reported that existing UN resolutions would be insufficient to justify SDF deployment under the existing Peacekeeping Operations Law. Koizumi ordered that a new law be drafted. This legislation, invoking UN Resolution 1483 as the legal basis for action, would restrict SDF operations to noncombat zones and avoid any review of existing restrictions on the use of force-or even any mention of Article 9. Despite high levels of public opposition and bureaucratic doubts-and despite the cavalierly tautological way in which Koizumi defined noncombat zones as the area where the SDF is operating, the SDF dispatch was swiftly enacted. It is hard to interpret this as anything less than a turning point in postwar Japanese security policy. As the chair of the LDP Policy Committee on Foreign Affairs insists, "the power of the bureaucracy is decreasing and political leadership is increasing.
Not all branches of the bureaucracy were hurt equally by these reforms. The JDA actually benefited. Until the mid-2000s, Japanese security policy had been managed chiefly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Koizumi years have been a traumatic time for the MOFA. As the role of the Cabinet Office expanded, an increasing number of officials were seconded from the JDA-twice as many in 2005 (more than sixty, including ten military officers) as in 1995. Three deputy cabinet secretary posts were established, one each allotted to foreign affairs, finance, and defense, putting the JDA on an equal footing with MOFA for the first time. Much to the chagrin of Japan's professional diplomats, negotiations with the Pentagon over U.S. force realignment in 2006 were led by the JD A and not by MOFA, as was customary. When he became prime minister in September 2006, Abe Shinzo's first act was to further remodel the Kantei in the image of the White House. Within months he also saw to it that the JDA would become the MOD.( New York Times, 27 September 2006.)
The trimming of bureaucratic prerogative and the rebuilding of bureaucratic powers continued with the second major institutional change, a frontal assault on the power of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. As we have seen, the CLB had long played a central role in managing the Yoshida Doctrine. The problem, from the perspective of the anti-mainstream conservatives, was that these officials had worked closely with their political overlords in the LDP mainstream to keep security policy under wraps. In their view, the CLB had usurped the politicians' role in civilian control of the Japanese military. In addition to defining "war potential" (senryoku) so narrowly in 1952 that Japanese forces have been hamstrung ever since, the CLB could declare collective self-defense (shiidanteki bOei) unconstitutional, both of which infuriated the revisionists. And they had long been apoplectic over the CLB's tortured May 1981 interpretation of Article 9, which recognized Japan's right of collective self-defense but declared its exercise forbidden. When the CLB (again with political approval, of course) dug in its heels during the debate over response to the Gulf War in 1991, making it impossible for the SDF to be dispatched until after the war was over, the newly ascendant revisionists vowed to make changes. And they did.
First, though, their like-minded, sometime ally, Ozawa Ichiro, forced the issue. In August 1999, when he demanded fuller control of the CLB as the price for bringing his Liberal Party into the governing coalition, the CLB director general with whom he had had contretemps on the Diet floor was forced to resign and his successors were barred from answering Diet interpellations on behalf of cabinet ministers.65 Prime Minister Koizumi brought the CLB-and the rest of the bureaucracy-under further political control. Although the CLB was not eliminated, it was forced to conduct its business on a very short political leash, its non-congenial interpretations left unsolicited. The same CLB that ruled in 1996 that it is problematic to amend the law to enable the prime minister to control and supervise the ministries and agencies-even during an emergency" now was more fully controlled than ever. It stood aside as the revisionists made the prime minister presidential. In this way, Japanese politicians took a giant step toward reconfiguring civil-military relations.
The CLB was not the revisionists' only target. Koizumi's team also vowed to go after the councillors (sanjikan) within the JDA. Director General Ishiba insisted that the (mostly younger) politicians who understood national security issues should assume control of the defense establishment and must no longer rely on the councilors as their proxies. He also elevated the status of the senior military officers in each service branch, making them the equivalent of the councilors. Prime Minister Koizumi told me, he explained, "that 'politicians need to be able to argue with bureaucrats.' This was a major change. The bureaucrats learned that they can no longer expect ministers who know nothing. Civilian officials predictably developed an Ishiba strategy and dug in and waited for Ishiba's term to end. But the writing was on the wall, and the civilian bureaucrats had lost considerable ground. In addition to the long-standard posting of junior lawmakers to each ministry as parliamentary vice ministers to educate them about policy issues, the Koizumi team appointed senior politicians as vice ministers to give politicians even further supervisory influence in the policy process. In the JDA, it would be difficult to confuse bureaucratic control with civilian control any longer, especially after January 2007 when it became a full-fledged ministry.
The revisionists also brought along a Japanese press that had always reflexively invoked fears of militarism. Even the Asahi Shimbun begafl to publish positive accounts of the SDF, including for the first time interviews with uniformed officers. One Asahi senior staff writer went even further, insisting "there is no more likelihood of resurgent militarism in Japan than "there is of the reintroduction of slavery in the United States, or of further seizure of Mexican territory." (See the Asahi editorial of 8 June 2003 and the Mainichi editorial of 16 June 2003, both written while the emergency legislation was under consideration in the Diet.)
When it was learned in 2004 that the U.S. military and the SDF had produced an annual coordinated joint-outline emergency plan from 1955 to 1975 to unify the military command in an emergency-and that the plans were kept secret from the prime ministerthe public could barely stifle a yawn. The very legitimacy of the Japanese military is no longer in question, and concerns about civilian control have receded. Yamagata's ghost had been shoved into the shadows, surely one of the greatest changes since the Pacific War.
Another change, was the transformation of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) into a de facto fourth branch of the Japanese military-may be the most significant and is certainly the least heralded. The Japan Coast Guard Law was revised by the Diet at the same time that the more prominent antiterror legislation authorized the dispatch of ships to Diego Garcia. Unlike the MSDF dispatch to the Indian Ocean, which was limited to the supply of fuel for U.S. and British troops, the Coast Guard Law, as amended, allowed the outright use of force to prevent maritime intrusion and to protect the Japanese homeland. Now the Coast Guard-still legally a law enforcement agency" within the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and not part of the JDA except in an emergency-is assigned rules of engagement more relaxed than those of the SDF. Local commanders are authorized to use force under the conditions of justifiable defense and during an emergency (kinkyu). Warning shots, if ignored, can be followed by disabling fire targeted on the offending vessel's propellers in order to disable it. Within one month, in the first Japanese use of force since the end of the Pacific War, Prime Minister Obuchi ordered the Japanese Coast Guard to fire upon a North Korean vessel, which, unmarked and refusing to identify itself, was known as a mystery ship (fushinsen). The DPRK vessel reportedly scuttled itself in the Chinese Exclusive Economic Zone to avoid capture. Fifteen North Korean crewmembers were killed in the firefight.
Those who guided the development of the Japan Coast Guard vigorously deny this, insisting instead that the new, improved JCG (the English rendering of the name was changed from Maritime Safety Agency in April 2000) is merely a long overdue modernization, "changing an analog JCG into a digital one. They maintain that while militaries fight one another, coast guards enforce laws and are partners in crime fighting?9 Still, using the term for "war potential" (senryoku), which was declared unconstitutional in Article 9, the JCG White Paper headlines the ICG's New Fighting Power and trumpets repeatedly its expanding security role. It explicitly lists securing the safety of the sea-lanes and maintaining order on the seas alongside rescue, firefighting, and environmental protection as core missions. In April 2005, Prime Minister Koizumi visited Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, and the two governments announced their Eight-fold Initiative for Strengthening Japan-India Global Partnership, specifying enhanced security cooperation on a sustained basis between the nations' navies and coast guards. Insisting that the JCG is not a fourth branch of the SDF, it is Japan's first line of defense, serving as a litmus paper for MSDF action. And that the MDF and the JCG coordinate more closely than ever before. Certainly, the reinvention of the Japan Coast Guard was politically expedient. Mainstream politicians and political parties (including both the Komeito within the ruling coalition as well as the opposition Japan Communist Party) that would not abide increased defense spending were more than willing to increase maritime safety and international cooperation. No doubt because the JCG is described as a police force, rather than as a military one, these distant deployments have ruffled few feathers at home or abroad. To assure that a benign view of the JCG persists, the Japanese government has tied it to its foreign aid program. It is now routine for the JCG to assist Southeast Asian states with training and technology to help them police the Strait of Malacca and other areas along the Middle East oil routes. Month-long conferences on maritime safety attended by coast guard officials from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are funded through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japans foreign aid agency. Agency funds set aside as antiterrorism grant aid were also used to provide the Indonesian and Philippine coast guards with three fast patrol craft each in 2006. Because these ships were equipped with bulletproof glass, they were classified as weapons by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), but because they were unarmed and were supplied to a coast guard, the Japanese government claimed it was ;not violating its arms export ban.
The most recent institutional change is the most arresting. Revision of the U.S.-imposed constitution-the holy grail of antimilitarism-is once again in play. Indeed, it is closer to realization than at any time in the past sixty years. Picking up on a shift in popular sentiment after the Gulf War-indeed, capitalizing on generational change and unprecedented public acceptance of the SDF-revisionists began to paint Article 9 as an obstacle to international cooperation. They launched a sustained effort to make the constitution conform to international standards they considered normal. Revisionists secured several major legislative victories in the 1990s, including the establishment of Diet research commissions that issued final reports in April 2005. They were also joined by influential new allies in the media and academia. Years before the LDP's first draft, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily newspaper, drafted a constitution that would specify the right of collective self-defense. Japanese universities continued to employ academics advocating pacifist positions, but the new generation includes more scholars favoring a change in Article 9 than was the case in the 1950s. By the end of the decade, revisionist support and accomplishments had accumulated. The Self-Defense Forces and Coast Guard were able to engage in a growing list of widely accepted activities once deemed unconstitutional, and the LDP and the Democratic Party of Japan, the major opposition party, were both positioned to support constitutional revision. It looked ever more likely that the constitution would be revised to acknowledge that Japan has a legitimate military and can legally engage in collective defense. Once again, Yoshida Shigeru may have been prophetic. In his memoirs he had defended opposition to revision of Article Nine but allowed that "obviously there exists no reason why revision should not come in the long run [so long as the Japanese people are] watchful and vigilant. ... The actual work of revision would only be undertaken when public opinion as a whole has finally come to demand it.”
After the end of the cold war-and after serial encounters with North Korea, in particular-Japanese public opinion shifted dramatically. the positive impression of the SDF grew in nearly a straight line from the mid1970s, according to Cabinet Office polls. The SDF benefited from successful PKO missions to Cambodia and Mozambique, as well as from positive press related to its operations in disaster relief. In fact, the majority of Japanese polled between 1997 and 2003 believed that disaster relief was the top mission for the SDF, a result belying the impression that the Japanese public was embracing a national security mission. After all, the public preferred that SDF capabilities be expanded but was expressing heightened concern about Japan's being drawn into war. The sticking point was cost: the number of Japanese willing to increase the defense budget had risen but remained at barely 10 percent in 2003. Attitudes toward the United States and the alliance were stable and mostly positive, while those toward Russia remained stable and entirely negative. Apart from volatile attitudes toward China and both Koreas, the biggest change in public opinion regarding security issues in the past decade and a half has been support for revision of the constitution. Depending on the poll and the question, support for constitutional revision in general first exceeded opposition in the early 1990s (Yomiuri Shimbun) or a few years later (Asahi Shimbun). By April 2005, those who supported and those who opposed revision of Article 9 were in a statistical dead heat. The Japanese public had come a very long way. The United States was cheering these changes, but not from the sidelines. For decades it had pressured Japan to playa more active military role even while it kept Tokyo on a short leash. But Japanese strategists had proclaimed their pacifism, and the asymmetry in the alliance remained acceptable to both sides because their interests were so closely aligned.Indeed, after a decade of trade frictions had threatened to destabilize the security relationship, it was the U.S. side that relaxed pressure on Japan. President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto reached an agreement in April 1996 that reinforced the alliance and reassured the allies.
But these dynamics changed after 9/11. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced plans for U.S. "force transformation" in November 2001, signaling a more flexible global posture. Within two years, it was clear that the formal alliances of the United States could be supplanted by more informal coalitions of the willing, as in Iraq. The message was not lost on the Japanese. One ASDF general, Marumo Yoshinari, observed that the United States was now marketizing its alliances, countries could buy a place by contributing to mutual security. Some Japanese grew as concerned about entanglement as they were about abandonment. The Asahi Shimbun concluded that "without its being seen by the public, the cold war U.S.-Japan alliance is being replaced by the unification (ittaika) [of U.S. and Japanese forces]." Would the SDF become a fifth branch of the U.S. armed forces? If so, would it be forced to undertake operations beyond the defense of the main islands?
After the GDSF was withdrawn from Samawah Province in Iraq, the ASDF was tasked with supporting U.S. troops in Baghdad. A major daily immediately suggested: "Transporting U.S. Troops May Drag the ASDF into America's War." How could Japan avoid entrapment in U.S. wars? (See the debate in the December 2004 issue of Sekai: "Anzen Hosh6 Seisaku no Dai Tenkan ga Hajimatta" (The Great Change in the National Defense Policy Has Started), 77-92.) The predominant view-expressed by government officials and analysts alike-was that Japan's "near irreversible dependence" on the United States forced security planners to hug the United States more closely than ever and, if necessary, to be prepared to shed blood. (Tokyo Shimbun, 19 July 2006.)
This decision has not come cost free. No matter how much the Japanese were prepared to increase their contribution to the alliance, it was never quite enough. Some Japanese believe they have had to play catch-up to U.S. demands, whereas the U.S. Department of Defense was convinced that the alliance has been playing catch-up to changes in the global security environment. U.s. officials called on Japan to create a more balanced, more equal, more normal defense relationship. Their exhortations prompted one U.S. observer to suggest that "the only thing that has risen faster than the level of cooperation between our two nations during the Bush-Koizumi era has been the level of Washington's expectations. Predictably, there were consequences. Japanese scholars and analysts wondered aloud where Japanese national interests are located in the U.S. global agenda. Others pointed to the low (and decreasing) level of public support for U.S. foreign policy. In 2005, a majority of Japanese believed that Japan should cooperate with Washington in world affairs, but more than half also did not trust the United States and an equal number believed that U.S. forces should leave Japan.
U.S. force transformation, combined with the palpable threat from Pyongyang, provided Japanese revisionists with a long-awaited opportunity to enhance SDF capabilities. The U.S. force transformation made it more acceptable to discuss the need to recognize the right to collective self-defense. Abe Shinzo made this a top priority during his campaign to become prime minister in 2006. (Yomiuri Shimbun, 23 August 2006.) Even revision of the Mutual Security Treaty was back on the table. The real challenge was for Japan to learn how to judiciously utilize the power of the United States, and its main challenge was to find a way to manage American hegemony. ("Judiciously utilize" is from National Institute for Defense Studies 2003, 23, and "jointly manage" is from Taniguchi 2005, 45.)
Many in the Japanese security community welcomed U.S. pressure for this very reason. They were eager to move from the principle of passive alignment that guided the Yoshida Doctrine to an active alliance relationship. U.S. demands factored into Japanese plans for expanded roles and missions as a new division of labor (yakuwari buntan) was constructed. Tokuchi Hideshi, an author of the 2004 NDPG, insisted that since the alliance is "indispensable" for security in Asia, Japan's new strategy should acknowledge the need for "shared understandings of the new security environment" and the establishment of "common strategic objectives." (Tokuchi quoted in Securitarian, March 2005,13-14.)
After three years of DoD pressure-in the form of a Defense Policy Review Initiative that sought a shared assessment of strategy and threats as well as a common assessment of the roles and missions required to meet them-the Japanese government formally signed on to an explicit set of common strategic objectives in February 2005. This overhaul created as many options for Japan as it foreclosed. The press focused on shared bases, but Japanese defense officials avoided endorsing the idea of joint commands. Former JDA director general Ishiba Shigeru warned that Japan must not get caught in America's wake, and explicitly ruled out the possibility that the SDF would ever become part of the U.s. military command. Japan, rather, would become a cooperative, equal partner of the United States because it is in Japan's interests to do so. But adding new missions to the alliance also enhances Japan's ability to act outside the alliance should it choose to do so. The alliance and cooperation are formally reaffirmed at every turn in official documents, but opportunities are seldom lost inside Japan to assert that Tokyo has many security challenges, one of which is the need to rediscover the ability to make its own decisions.
*The label ‘Yoshida doctrine’ was coined in 1963 when its core ideas came to be embraced across the board as Japan consensus view of its national security identity. It started with Shigeru Yoshida making sure that the ex-officio members of the National Security Council (Kokubo Kaigi) were limited to cabinet ministers and that former flag officers were explicitly barred from posts in the new Defense Agency in 1954. Later, as prime minister, Kishi tried a different tack-he sought to upgrade and reorganize the Defense Agency. But this initiative also failed, as the uproar over the Security Treaty in 1960 made defense policy nearly untouchable. His successor, Ikeda Hayato, a mainstream Yoshida pragmatist, made sure that the issue did not return to the Diet. Like the successful doctrine of the Meiji oligarchs and the unsuccessful doctrine of Konoye, the Yoshida consensus was built on a profoundly realist understanding of international affairs made operable by the consolidation of domestic power. Strategists saw that the cold war made Japan as important to the United States as the United States was to Japan, and that the nominally weak partner could also become rich and strong. The Yoshida Doctrine borrowed considerably from the past. Its mercantile realism was focused on generating wealth and technological independence per the ‘rich nation, strong army’ doctrine, but it eschewed the military. Like the Toyo Keizai editorialists in 1915 who saw no profit in Japanese possession of China, the Yoshida mainstream understood that aggression would stimulate balancing behavior and would close markets. They saw clearly the benefits of cheap riding. The Yoshida mainstream opportunistically embraced the pacifist Left in order to keep the anti-mainstream at bay, and the anti-mainstream eventually came around to accept the central tenets of the doctrine.
Continue to Part 2
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