In 2015, under Prime Minister Abe’s leadership, the Japanese government enacted controversial new security legislation with the aim to facilitate the country’s role as a ‘pro-active contributor’ to international peace and security. In 2017, Abe’s victory in the Japanese national elections set the conditions for the government to pursue an even bolder agenda. This would include the possibility to engage with a constitutional reform designed to address the constraints imposed on the status and activities of the Japanese military. What is the reform of this clause about? Is the revision of Article 9 going to represent Abe’s political legacy of his tenure? Will he be the Prime Minister to bring the Japanese defence and security paradigm of the post-war era to a new stage?
This seminar engaged with the above questions, focusing on the political, legal, and strategic implications unfolding from possible constitutional reforms. The speakers placed the Japanese debate in the wider context of international law and military and strategic studies to offer a broader understanding of the opportunities and challenges that such a reform would bring about. This is a timely and much needed discussion with clear repercussions on Anglo-Japanese defence relations and on the prospects of Japan’s continued contribution to a stable international system.
The event was organised in cooperation with the King’s Japan Programme.
A video of the talk can be found here:
About the contributors
Dr Hitoshi Nasu
Dr Hitoshi Nasu is a Professor of International Law at the University of Exeter, specialising in international security law and the law of armed conflict. He has written on a wide range of issues including the protection of civilians in armed conflict, regional security in the Asia-Pacific, new technologies and the law of armed conflict, and the security law of Japan. Dr Nasu is a graduate of Aoyama Gakuin University in Japan and holds a PhD in law from the University of Sydney, Australia. Previously, he held academic posts at the Australian National University, where he was also Co-Director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law and the Centre for Military and Security Law, and was a visiting research fellow at the National University of Singapore in 2017.
Dr Alessio Patalano
Dr Alessio Patalano is Reader in East Asian Warfare and Security at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, specialising in maritime strategy and doctrine, Japanese military history and strategy, and East Asian Security. From 2006 to 2015, he was visiting professor in Strategy at the Italian Naval War College. In Japan, he has been a visiting professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Currently, he is Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan and Visiting Professor at the Japan Maritime Command and Staff College. His latest monograph is titled Post-war Japan as a Seapower: Imperial Legacy, Wartime Experience, and the Making of a Navy (Bloomsbury 2015).