101 Iowa L. Rev. 1223 (2016)
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Article 9 of the Japanese constitution expressly renounces war as a means to resolve international disputes. Yet since its initial promulgation in 1947, Article 9 has been interpreted to allow Japan the right to self-defense. To that end, Japan today possesses one of the most powerful and modern militaries in the world. In the summer of 20,4, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe circumvented the constitutional amendment process, and, through a cabinet decision, issued a "reinterpretation" of Article 9 that allowed Japan for the first time to engage in collective self-defense. The questionable constitutionality of Abe's reinterpretation engendered much debate and protest in Japan and abroad. The United States effectively ignored the domestic and international outcry and gave the reinterpretation its blessing, however, as it has desired greater assistance from the Japanese military since the beginning of the Cold War. Yet the unstable legal basis on which Abe's reinterpretation rests creates the very real danger that Japan's newly-declared right of collective self-defense could eventually be retracted, leaving the United States without the support upon which it has based new foreign policy commitments. This Note argues that the United States must take steps in order to prevent Japan's reinterpretation of Article 9 from becoming a Pyrrhic victory for American foreign policy. First, the United States should encourage Japan to legitimize any right of collective self-defense through traditional legal structures and thus solidify its reinterpretation of Article 9. Second, the United States should continue to reduce tensions between Japan and its neighbors before investing further resources into the Japanese side of regional disputes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016