How has the debate over pre-emptive strike capabilities been legally framed in Japan? What are its implications for U.S. national security policy?
Masahiro Kurosaki is an Associate Professor of International Law and the Director of the Study of Law, Security and Military Operations at the National Defense Academy of Japan Ministry of Defense. He sometimes represents the Japanese government in diplomatic negotiations on international human rights and humanitarian law as a legal adviser. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Japanese government or the Ministry of Defense of Japan.
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The Japanese Constitution was long understood as prohibiting the exercise of international law’s right of collective self-defense under all circumstances. Until just a few years ago, the government’s view had been that the Constitution’s war-renouncing clause, Article 9, permitted only the use of minimum necessary force to defend the territory and population of Japan—not other countries.
Over the past several months, North Korea’s hostile rhetoric and its repeated nuclear and missile tests have led to calls for action against the threats posed by its regime.