IFPA-Fletcher School Symposium on New Dynamics in Japanese Security Policy

March 31, 2015

Fletcher School of Law and Diplamcy, Tufts University

IFPA and the International Security Studies Program (ISSP) of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy joined together to organize and facilitate this one-day symposium at the Fletcher School to promote an informed exchange of views on the new dynamics of Japan’s security policy and their implications for U.S.-Japanese strategic cooperation going forward. The symposium provided a unique opportunity for a select group of Japanese and American policy experts, academics, business leaders, and officials to review and explain in some depth keys aspects of the Abe administration’s defense and foreign policy reforms aimed at facilitating Japan’s emergence as a “proactive contributor to peace” at both the regional and global levels. This included in-depth discussion of Japan’s new National Security Council, its first-ever National Security Strategy, its updated National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Mid-Term Defense Program, its new policies regarding the export of military technologies, and current efforts to revise its Official Development Assistance (ODA) regulations to allow aid to foreign militaries for non-defense purposes (which would include disaster relief, but also “grey area” missions like anti-terrorism, cyber security, and maritime safety). Perhaps most importantly from a U.S-Japan alliance perspective, the symposium examined the Abe administration’s recent moves to reinterpret Article 9 of Japan’s constitution to permit Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and come to the aid of allies under attack, a policy shift that promises to have a significant impact on U.S. and Japanese roles and responsibilities under their bilateral guidelines for Japan National Security Council, that are currently being revised. The many ways in which these various reforms and initiatives are likely to enhance Japan’s contributions to security in the Asia-Pacific region and even farther afield are not well understood in the United States, and the IFPA-Fletcher School symposium helped to eliminate this critical gap in understanding.