In this book, Paul Midford engages claims that since 9/11 Japanese public opinion has turned sharply away from pacifism and toward supporting normalization of Japan’s military power, in which Japanese troops would fight alongside their American counterparts in various conflicts worldwide.
Midford argues that Japanese public opinion has never embraced pacifism. It has, instead, contained significant elements of realism, in that it has acknowledged the utility of military power for defending national territory and independence, but has seen offensive military power as ineffective for promoting other goals—such as suppressing terrorist networks and WMD proliferation, or promoting democracy overseas.
Over several decades, these realist attitudes have become more evident as the Japanese state has gradually convinced its public that Tokyo and its military can be trusted with territorial defense, and even with noncombat humanitarian and reconstruction missions overseas. On this basis, says Midford, we should re-conceptualize Japanese public opinion as attitudinal defensive realism.
Professor, Norwegian University of Science & Technology
Paul Midford is a faculty of Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University (2001). He was a Monbusho scholar at Aoyama Gakuin University during 1992-1994, and has worked at the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS) and the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA), all in Tokyo, Japan. Midford taught international and comparative politics at Japanese universities for more than seven years, including Kanazawa University, Hokuriku University and Kwansei Gakuin University. In total, he spent over ten years teaching and conducting research in Japan. Midford’s research focuses on East Asian regional international politics and security, Japanese foreign policy,
and especially Japanese defense policy. Besides teaching Japanese politics, his recent research focuses on how Japanese public opinion and political parties are influencing Japan’s evolving security strategy.