WEAI Postdoc Ayumi Teraoka Publishes New Research in "Pacific Affairs"

February 27, 2024

WEAI Postdoctoral Research Scholar Ayumi Teraoka has coauthored a new article with Ryo Sahashi (University of Tokyo) in Pacific Affairs, titled "Japan’s Revolutionary Military Change: Explaining Why It Happened Under Kishida."

Japan’s security policy is changing rapidly, with drastic increases to its defense budget and the acquisition of counterstrike capabilities. While the deteriorating security environment undeniably motivates Japan’s defense posture, the speed and extent of these recent changes still present a puzzle. Why was it under Kishida Fumio—a former leader of Kōchikai, the liberal and oft-considered pacifist faction within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)—that Japan achieved its watershed moment on defense? This article explains this change through the exigencies of Kishida’s domestic political survival. It was through his leadership of a minority faction within the LDP, his image as a dove, and support for fiscal discipline, that Kishida managed to find the largest common denominator among competing domestic political forces. Had it not been for Kishida, the speed and degree of Japan’s recent transformation in security policies would have been unlikely. In light of these findings, we conclude by considering the policy implications for understanding Japan’s security posture.

Access the full article here.