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Revamping the Rules of Engagement for the Rising Sun

A cursory overview of Japan’s recent defense initiatives

By Bolton Smith

Recently the Japanese Diet approved Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s initiative to rewrite rules of engagement for the Japanese Self Defense Force (SDF), precipitating a wave of criticism and controversy. Street protesters, politicians (some of whom engaged in a fist fight on the legislative floor), and even some scholars are raising concerns over the expanded role of the SDF. Their fears primarily focus on the view that the new legislation will entangle Japan in unnecessary conflict, violate parts of the Japanese constitution, and revitalize a nationalism that Japan has largely suppressed since the Second World War.

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