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No specific details yet but the DPJ has decided (jp) to reconvene one of their special panels devoted to looking at constitutional issues. This panel has not sat since 2007 and the DPJ party’s position on the constitution has not changed since the publication in 2005 of a “constitutional proposal.” I talk about it in the context of other domestic debates on political and constitutional change over at sigma1.

In terms of foreign/security policy the key development is that Maehara has landed back on his feet in an area that he will feel comfortable in – he will chair the panel. Maehara is a known supporter of Japan exercising its right to collective self-defense that is afforded to Japan by international law but not by the standing interpretation of Japan’s own constitution. The DPJ itself in 2005 embraced a concept of “limited self-defense.” The concept pointed to a clarified stance that is stricter than what the current international framework allows for nation-states, but still allows Japan to make a proactive contribution to global security – Japan would become a “peace-creating” nation rather than one that sits idly by allowing peace come to it. Indeed the latter language made its way into the preliminary documents that informed the revisions to the National Defense Program Guidelines, which were renewed at the end of last year.

With Ozawa Ichiro now formally out of the picture within the DPJ at least, it will be very interesting to see which way changes to the DPJ’s constitutional stance will go.

NB: Shisaku two years ago wrote a piece that tries to “interpret” the DPJ position on the constitution given that the English language versions of policy statements tend to be underwhelming compared to their Japanese versions. Find the post here.

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Corey Wallace joined Japan Security Watch in 2011. He writes on Japan security-related topics, focusing on issues and stories that may not find their way into the English language media. He also hosts the blog Sigma1 where he writes on Japanese domestic politics and broader issues in international relations. Prior to taking up a PhD Corey was a participant on the JET program (2004-2007) and on returning to New Zealand he worked at the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology from 2007-2010 as a policy adviser. Corey lectures two courses at the University of Auckland. One is on the international relations of the Asia-Pacific, which contains a significant focus on East Asia security issues. The other is a course on China's international relations. His primary academic interests before his current Japan focus were science and technology politics/policy, issues of ethnic identity, and Chinese modern history and politics. He carries over his interest in issues of identity and history into his PhD where he is looking at generationally situated concepts of national identity and their impact on foreign policy ideas in Japan.
Corey Wallace has 256 post(s) on Japan Security Watch