08 March 2016
Japan is at a crossroads — and has been there for a few years now — when it comes to technology and national security. Since drafting a peace constitution just after WWII (with a strong guiding hand from the United States), the Japanese government and people have managed to hold firmly to their ‘pacifist’ ideals as a nation, while still spending around 40 billion per year on the Japan Self-Defence Forces (JSDF).
While the JSDF can nominally hide a lot of offensive capabilities behind its ‘defensive’ name, the changing security environment in the Asia Pacific region, powered in large part by China’s increasing ability (and willingness) to project power, has policy-makers in Japan on edge. That’s why the debate surrounding the 70-year old ban on university researchers working directly on military technology projects has been attracting a bit of attention as of late.
… Dr Michael Raska, assistant professor in the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, while acknowledging that universities in Japan are indeed banned from conducting research related to military technology, points out the fact that “Japanese universities, think tanks and the National Defence Academy have been conducting military strategy research under the discipline of international relations” for some years now. In other words, many are already willing to go against the spirit of the law, if not the letter. Pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government — which has already done away with Japan’s ban on military exports — is mounting, trying to find ways of bringing university researchers into the defensive fold.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 11/03/2016