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Japan’s Strategic Shift: The Promise of Transforming Asian Geopolitics

Why is it in the news?

  • Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent address to the US Congress signals Japan’s assertive stance on the global stage.


More about the news

  • Japan has transitioned from its post-World War II pacifist stance to actively pursuing a major military power status.
  • Initially, Japan focused on rebuilding its economy and remained a US protectorate, avoiding significant military engagement.
  • Recently, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent address to the United States Congress and his summit meeting with President Joe Biden herald the emergence of a new, assertive Japan on the global stage.
  • This transformation signifies Japan’s strategic shift and holds significant implications for Asian geopolitics, marking a departure from its post-World War II pacifist stance.

Reasons for Change:

  • External factors include China’s rise and military assertiveness, deepening military bonds between Beijing and Moscow, North Korea’s military capabilities, and concerns over US security protection withdrawal.
  • Internally, conservatives in Tokyo advocate for Japan to become a ‘normal power’ responsible for its security and regional order.

Actions Taken by Japan:

  • Increase in defence expenditure, aiming to double annual spending by 2027.
  • Acquisition of counter-strike capability, such as purchasing Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US.
  • Easing of self-imposed ban on lethal weapons exports, leveraging Japan’s manufacturing and technological base.
  • Revision of command-and-control framework with the US to integrate defence forces and establish joint military industrial council.


  • Japan’s transformation will rearrange regional security dynamics, impacting Asia’s geopolitical landscape.
  • Structural factors suggest continuity in Japan’s new orientation, despite potential political changes.


India’s Stand

  • India views a politically resolute and militarily strong Japan positively, contributing to its objective of building a multipolar Asia.
  • Bilateral relationship with Japan has political character, with potential for military cooperation and military-industrial collaboration discussions.

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