Takako Hikotani, who is serving a term appointment as the Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy at Columbia University, has published an article in the July 2018 issue of International Affairs (Vol. 94, no. 4) titled “The Japanese Diet and Defence Policy-making.”
Professor Hikotani’s article looks at the evolving role of the Japanese Diet in defence policy-making through the lens of its legislative authority and its ability to oversee defence policy. It argues that the Diet’s legislative authority and oversight ability in this domain has traditionally been defined and influenced by the Japanese constitution, especially article 9. However, since the 1990s, the missions of the Self-Defence Forces (SDF) have expanded, and the role of the Diet has become more proactive in its authorizing capacity. With the 2015 peace and security legislation, the Diet’s exercise of authority based on enacting new legislation may have reached a plateau. With comprehensive legislation in place, in theory the Diet’s role in defence policy should shift from legislating to operating as an oversight body ensuring democratic (political) control of the military. With the scope of action for the SDF expanding, including it becoming a more important tool of deterrence, the Diet’s ability to oversee defence policy matters also becomes increasingly important.
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