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The Australian National University

Public seminar

Japanese Security Policy under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: the US - Japan alliance, ‘rebalancing’, and regional challenges

Speaker: Professor Rikki Kersten
Date: Tuesday 12 February 2013
Time: 6pm – 7.30pm, refreshments served from 5.30pm
Venue: Molonglo Theatre
Seminar flyer: Japanese Security Policy under Shinzo Abe by Professor Rikki Kersten [PDF219KB]
Presenter notes: Japanese Security Policy under Shinzo Abe by Professor Rikki Kersten [PDF 663KB]
Vodcast: Watch the seminar

Please ensure appropriate acknowledge for Professor Rikki Kersten when her presentation is used.

Rikki Kersten

The advent of the second Prime Minister Shinzo Abe administration in Japan in late 2012 seems to indicate that Japan’s security posture will become increasingly assertive. Abe has already announced planned increases in Japan’s defence budget, an upgrading of defence capabilities and a determination to defend the Senkaku Islands from Chinese incursions. Moreover, Abe is known as a hawk and a conviction nationalist who aspires to revise the pacifist clause of Japan’s postwar constitution. But since Abe’s first brief stint in office in 2006-7, the context for Japan’s security policy has changed both at home and abroad.

This lecture will examine the context of the US’ rebalancing policy framework, ongoing socio-economic and political malaise within Japan and the erosion of self-imposed constraints on Japan as a security actor, and ask how this might shape the direction of security policy under Abe. The existence of dissonance between Japan and the US on issues such as collective self-defence, territorial disputes and basing indicates that Abe’s security policy stance will encounter a number of challenges, all of which will impact on how Australia elaborates its own security relationship with Japan.

Rikki Kersten is Professor of Modern Japanese Political History in the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies at the ANU.

This presentation is part of the National Security College’s public seminar series.

The National Security College is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government and ANU

» Related article: History repeating - John Blaxland and Rikki Kersten.

Updated:  30 October 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College