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PacNet #50 – Beating up on Tokyo: good fun, bad policy

Publication of Japan’s newest defense white paper has triggered the usual dark speculations about the country’s future. Conversations in Beijing and Seoul begin with the premise that Japan is becoming more right wing in its defense policy and political orientation. Yes, the nation of "Asahi-reading realists" is becoming less blinkered in its assessment of the regional security environment. But the evolution in Japanese security thinking is evolutionary: changes remain incremental and the bulwarks against a radical shift remain firmly in place.