Japan is experiencing its own version of the “Zeitenwende”: For the first time since World War II, the country is planning to acquire counterstrike capabilities. The three new strategic documents – the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and the Defense Buildup Program – published at the end of 2022 outline a significant increase in defense spending until 2027, the aim of building stronger alliances with new and existing partners, as well as a focus on cybersecurity. This turn has been long in the making, given the changing security environment around Japan with the threat it perceives from both China’s own arming up and the growing tensions between the U.S. and China.
Will Japan’s ambition to increase its security through more military spending and strategic alliances also have a stabilizing effect on the whole region – and lead to deterrence by making the costs for conflict too high? Or is this the start of a continued arms race in the region that will accelerate the outbreak of conflict? Will Japan even be able to pay for the plans to upgrade its Self-Defense Forces? And while Japan firmly opposes nuclear weapons, what is the role of existing and aspiring nuclear powers in this new security landscape?
In this Oxford Debate we are debating whether Japan’s military build-up is threatening regional stability with John Delury, Lionel Fatton, Yuka Koshino, and Ken Moriyasu.
About Oxford Debates
The Oxford Debates at Asia Society Switzerland are a format to address ‘big’ questions that have no one answer or solution but are inviting many conflicting views. Four renowned experts in the field form teams of two, one team arguing for the motion, the other against it.
The Oxford-style format is broken down into four sections: opening remarks, rebuttals, a moderated question-and-answer session, and closing remarks. Before and after the debate the audience is polled whether they agree with the motion or not. The voting breakdown is not shared publicly until the end of the debate. The greater percentage change between the first and second votes determines the debate’s winning team.
Disclaimer: Positions presented in the debate do not necessarily represent the speakers’ views
Join Asia Society Switzerland on May 9, 12:00-13:00, for an online Oxford Debate on the topic of “Is Japan’s Military Build-Up Threatening Regional Stability?” The debate will feature distinguished experts in the field, including John Delury, Lionel Fatton, Yuka Koshino, and Ken Moriyasu. They will examine whether Japan’s ambition to increase its security through military spending and strategic alliances will have a stabilizing effect on the region or accelerate an arms race and conflict outbreak.