VOSSE, Wilhelm M.


   Division of Arts and Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, International Christian University
Date 2016/06/03
Presentation Theme Trying to Make Sense of Recent Changes in Japanese Security Policy: From Peace Studies to Critical Security Studies
Conference “Rethinking Peace Studies”
Promoters International Christian University and JICUF
Conference Type International
Presentation Type Panelist at Symposium/Workshop (Appointed)
Contribution Type Individual
Invited Invited
Venue Tokyo, Japan
Details After decades of adherence to non-militarist foreign and security policy while almost solely relying on the security guarantees of the United States, in the post-Cold War period and especially in the last 15 years, Japanese security policy has, depending on political and academic outlook, either “normalized” and adapted to a changed international environment, or militarized and gradually abandoned its non-militarist or pacifist traditions of the postwar years. This paper, written by an academic who taught peace studies courses to predominantly Japanese undergraduate students, is an attempt to assess the usefulness of classical peace studies and critical security studies concepts and approaches.
In recent years, the author has spent a lot of time discussing with Japanese, European, and American policy makers and policy analysts, who often do consider a wider range of causes for conflicts beyond power politics and military considerations, but who are often unaware of the results of peace studies or peace research. In its place, critical security studies has broadened and deepened traditional security studies or strategic studies. As one effect, the Japanese government began to embrace human security, mostly as an extension of its development policy (ODA), which besides trade had become one of the two core pillars of its foreign policy in the 1980s. However, when faced with new strategic challenges, even the thinking of the Japanese government now seems to be dominated by classical strategic concerns. Some argue, that this is only the result of policy preferences of the current government, but this paper will argue, that non-political domestic as well as global factors might be more important to explain these developments.