Summary of the event “Active Pacifism? Japan’s New Security Policy”


On March 4, 2016, the Institute for Security and Development policy organized a roundtable discussion and public lecture titled “Active Pacifism? Japan’s new security policy”. Both events were centered on the research conducted by Professor Akhiro Sado, Professor at the School of Business and Public Policies and Dean at the Graduate School of Economics at Chukyo University, Japan. Professor Sado used this opportunity to discuss the challenges and changes to Japan’s security policy. Particular focus was placed on the recent reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and what this shift towards a more active pacifism represents for Japan and other countries in the region.

The day began with the roundtable discussion together with representatives from the Japanese Embassy in Sweden, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and members of the Stockholm policy community. After a brief introduction to the topic, participants discussed a number of current perceived challenges to Japanese security. China’s increased military capabilities and North Korean military threats were identified by Professor Sado as two of Japan’s main security challenges today. Following from that, participants moved on to tackle the issue of security cooperation, with contributors emphasizing the need for structural mechanisms that could ensure closer cooperation between countries in the region.

In the afternoon, Professor Sado delivered a public lecture that provided a more detailed analysis of the issues discussed during the morning roundtable. After providing those who attended the event with a historical timeline of Japan-US relationship, Professor Sado went on to argue that current events have led to a change in this bilateral relationship. Professor Sado moved on to closely assess China’s military activity in South East Asia, arguing that Chinese activities in the South China Sea represent a challenge to Japanese security. A brief but lively Q&A session followed from that, where issues such as Chinese military capacity, potential regional cooperation against maritime piracy and South Korea-China relations were discussed.

We would like to thank Professor Sado and all participants for their valuable contribution during a very productive and successful event.