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PacNet #24 – Japan’s DPJ: The Party of Change

When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to power in 2009, alliance watchers focused on two of its security-related promises: ending Japan’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean that supported US and NATO forces operating in Afghanistan and renegotiating an agreement to relocate US troops within Okinawa. The promises were a giant step backward in what was interpreted as years of gradual expansion in Japan’s roles and missions and a push to deepen US-Japan relations. Despite these promises, a review of its tenure shows that the DPJ has actually initiated changes that better align Japan to meet current security realities.