every other state involved has), but under both the LDP and subsequently the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the nation's military presence has pushed even further geographically to the Gulf of Aden with "antipiracy" operations and the construction of the first JSDF overseas military base in Djibouti. The DPJ government has recently committed to sending JSDF troops to South Sudan, somewhat contrary to predictions that might spring from Midford's analysis. Japan's policymakers will claim, quite rightly, that these are noncombat, humanitarian, or reconstruction missions. But so were the dispatches to the Indian Ocean and Iraq, and just as in those missions, the limits of the constraints on Japanese military power and support for the United States are being slowly eroded. As we know, Japanese security policy always develops incrementally, zigzagging, or in two-steps-forwardone-step-back fashion. Public opinion can force the development to slow but rarely halts it entirely, and the recent continuing JSDF dispatch seems to challenge Midford's contention that public opinion has reduced support in general for overseas dispatch or has been an absolute roadblock. All in all, though, Midford's book should be read by all scholars and students of Japanese security policy. It is path breaking, if
The Journal of Japanese Studies – Society for Japanese Studies
Published: Jul 14, 2012
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