Journal Article

Where do norms come from? Foundations of Japan's postwar pacifism1

Akitoshi Miyashita

in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

Published on behalf of Japan Association of International Relations

Volume 7, issue 1, pages 99-120
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1470-482X
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1470-4838 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/irap/lci135
Where do norms come from? Foundations of Japan's postwar pacifism1

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Constructivists have advanced the study of Japanese national security policy by illuminating how normative factors shape state behavior. At the same time, they have overemphasized the role norms and ideas play while downplaying the structural and material forces that often underlie normative factors. This article seeks to reveal the political foundations of Japanese postwar pacifism. It maintains that explanations based on norms and identities cannot be separated from discussion on material and structural factors when it comes to the question of where norms come from and why they are sustained. Power and interests may not explain everything, but they often account for why certain norms emerge and are sustained to influence policy. By examining the shifts in public opinions and the Social Democratic Party's defense policy, this article argues that Japan's postwar pacifism has been possible in large part because peace was relatively abundant in postwar Japan and that the majority of the Japanese felt that the alliance with the United States contributed to that effect.

Journal Article.  8514 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations ; East Asian Studies

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