—Many view Japan’s latest move to reinterpret its postwar peaceful constitution with inevitable wariness that the nation identity as a pacifist country has totally changed and that Japan is now returning to militaristic past. Analyzing Japan’s defense policies from the postwar period until present through lens of constructivism theory, this paper argues that Japan’s national identity has not drastically changed but gradually transformed over the past 60 years in accordance with ongoing changes in international security environment. Japan’s new defense posture achieved through reinterpretation of the constitution is arguably a combined consequence of both strategic shift and incremental change in Japan’s national identity. However, this ongoing transformation in identity from a peaceful state in the Cold War era to a normal state in the post-Cold War period does not mean that Japan has totally shaken off its antimilitarism culture and is pursuing militarism.
—Identity, Japan, reinterpretation of constitution, security policy.
Nutthathirataa Withitwinyuchon is with the Department of Politics, University of Otago, New Zealand (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Nutthathirataa Withitwinyuchon, " Japan’s New Defense Policy: Identity Change or Strategic Shift," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 243-246, 2016.