عنوان مقاله [English]
Japan’s defeat in World War II, the loss of military power, and the ban on independent military actions after that era made this country a dependent and passive government in terms of security. Although in the years after the Second World War, the US security umbrella has been able to protect Japan from the Cold War and post- Cold War security crisis, the feeling of insecurity in recent years has created strategic dynamics in the country's grand strategies; and it can be substantiated that in recent years Japan, as a middle power, has moved towards increasing its military capabilities and has shifted from passive foreign policies. What is deduced from Japan's post-Cold War foreign and defense policy and strategy is that regional variables have been one of the main drivers and effective factors for these changes. In the same vein, this research analyzes the impact of regional variables on Japan's security developments and its change towards a normal state. According to this, this research considers that what environmental variables have made Japan aware of these threats and what has been Japan's response to these threats?
The research method in this research will be in the form of descriptive-analytic approaches using the mixed method (a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods). In the descriptive-analytic approach that the researcher seeks to answer why and how to establish a causal relationship between independent and dependent variables, it is attempted to describe a process and develop a concept. With this definition, this research seeks to examine the process of change in Japanese security policies, to develop the concept of a "normal state" with an impact of regional variables. The data collection method is based on library findings.
Results and discussion
A review of theoretical approaches to international relations indicates that each of these approaches can provide significant help to Japanese security's researchers in answering the questions of "what regional threats and why regional variables are threatening" but these approaches have two weaknesses. First, each of them focuses only on one aspect of the analysis. Second, they ignore Japan responds to security threats. Contrary to these two disadvantages, Stephen Walt's balance of threat theory has two advantages that can be used to analyze this research. On the one hand, this theory has simultaneously taken into account both material and semantic perspectives, which in turn make the analysis comprehensible. On the other hand, it is possible to outline Japan's response to security changes in the form of "internal and external balancing".
This research concluded that China and North Korea are defined as threat to Japan's national security, regarding the four threat defining components (overall capability, geographic proximity, offensive capabilities, aggressive intentions), which have been raised in Stephen Walt's Balance of threat Theory. Comparison of the threat level of China and North Korea indicates that although North Korea is generally less understood than China in terms of overall power sources due to lack of power components (such as economic power, population, size, etc.), as Walt believes, powerful countries are not necessarily threatening and there could be some countries that, while lacking key components of power, pose a serious threat to international security while alliances may be formed against powerless countries. Therefore, North Korea is a serious threat against Japan's national security as well as stability and peace in East Asia.
According to research's results, regional threats have pushed Japan into a counterbalance of both internal (statutory and institutional) and foreign (deeper coalition with the US and security networking in East Asia and beyond) balanced threats. Also, it was concluded that the Japanese security environment was moving towards unpredictability and complexity, deepening Japan's security integration with the US and security networking as a strategy has been on the agenda of Japanese policymakers. It has to be mentioned that the role of Japanese leaders and politicians is important. According to the findings of this study, the political security strategies and behaviors of these countries change as the security environment of states becomes more strategic and in parallel with reformist and transformational leaders in these countries. With regard to Japan, while its foreign security environment at the same time imposed special requirements on its security and foreign policy behaviors and a transformative individual had come to power, the country experienced significant changes in its strategic calculations and foreign policy.
Japan's behavioral analysis indicates that the complex security environment, and in particular the perception of the threat of China and North Korea have been the main drivers of Japan's strategic change in practiced and announced policies. The reasons for this perception of China and Korea as threat, as well as Japan response to these security concerns were described in the context of Stephen Walt's balance of threat theory. The outlook for the balancing strategy points to many internal and external challenges and opportunities for Japan and other countries, such as: increasing Japan's deterrence over China and North Korea, boosting Japan's national security, strengthening the US hegemony in Northeast Asia, expanding arms race in the East Asia, increasing tensions in border disputes, increasing misunderstanding and misapprehension among regional actor.
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