Japanese security policy formation: Assessing the Koizumi revolution

Rikki Kersten*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Since the turn of the century, Japanese security policy seems to have taken a more proactive, assertive turn. To what extent does this new security profile on Japan's part represent fundamental change in terms of security policy formation, security norms and security practice? This article analyses post-9/11 Japanese security policy formation by examining changes to policy-making processes and norms during and after Koizumi's tenure between 2001 and 2006, and assesses whether the Koizumi legacy is likely to endure. While there was a sea change in post-war Japanese politics in 2009, a government led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will most likely represent essential continuity of twenty-first-century security policy trends and, indeed, will probably attempt a clearer and more determined articulation of these trends. The fact that the DPJ-led government promises revolutionary change to policy-making processes centred on the prime minister's office repackages the Koizumi era as one that is precedent-forming for a DPJ-led administration, particularly in the field of security policy. Developments in Japan's twenty-first-century security policy have become important indicators of deep structural change in Japanese politics, and are closely associated with the maturation of Japan's post-war democracy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-23
    Number of pages19
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2011


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