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State Secrets Protection Law Passes Diet

A state secrets protection law aimed at safeguarding classified information on foreign affairs and security was promulgated on December 6, 2013. The government regards the law and the newly created National Security Council as the two indispensable pillars of Japan’s security and defense strategy. Meanwhile, the government must deal with the challenge of striking a legal balance between national security and citizens’ right to know.

Tense Diet Passes New State Secrets Law

After a fierce tug-of-war in the Diet, a law to protect specially designated state secrets was passed on December 6, 2013. The government and ruling parties, in a hurry to set out rules for protecting classified information pertaining to foreign policy and national security, met with strong backlash from the opposition, who argued that such a law would jeopardize citizens’ right to know. The rulin…

Japan Launches Its Own National Security CouncilHarano Jōji

On November 27, 2013, the Diet passed a bill to establish a National Security Council, which will serve as the command center for Japan’s diplomatic and security policies and national strategy. Modeled after the US National Security Council, it is known as the Japanese NSC. Under the leadership of the Kantei (the prime minister’s office), within which it has been set up, the council will engage in…

Behind the New Abe Diplomacy: An Interview with Cabinet Advisor Yachi Shōtarō (Part Two)

In the second half of our interview with Special Cabinet Advisor Yachi Shōtarō, the veteran diplomat speaks out about key foreign-policy challenges facing the Abe cabinet, including controversial plans for the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, resolution of the Northern Territories dispute with Russia, and the negotiation of multiple free trade agreements.

Priorities for Japan’s Defense PolicyNakanishi Hiroshi

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has moved to hike the defense budget for the first time in 11 years and has called for a revision of Japan’s basic defense guidelines. How should we evaluate the new administration’s approach to defense and security policy?

Abe’s Agenda on Three FrontsKitaoka Shin’ichi

In order to deal with the difficult issues Japan faces domestically and internationally, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō will need to display leadership and promote realistic policies without getting tied up in ideology.

Inertia and Drive in the DPJ’s Security PolicyHosoya Yuichi

Beginning with its bungled handling of the relocation of Futenma air base, the DPJ administration installed in 2009 has shown confusion about how to handle foreign affairs and national security policy. But it has also made some progress. Keiō University Professor Hosoya Yuichi reviews the problems and the signs of change.

The Deepening of the Japan-US AllianceKitaoka Shin’ichi

The Japan-US alliance faces a number of knotty problems, exacerbated by initial bungling after Japan’s 2009 change of ruling parties. But the Japanese have been reawakened to the challenge posed by China’s fast-growing military might, and the United States has recommitted itself to involvement in East Asian security affairs.

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