It is difficult to define what a “normal” state is in the current global system. One of the more accepted definitions however, of a “normal” state is one that has the ability and freedom to fulfil all its regional and global responsibilities proportionate to its stature in the global system. As per this definition, Japan fell short of being a “normal” state in many aspects.
Japan’s status of being an “abnormal” state began changing in 1991, when it started the process of its security policy “normalisation”. Among a slew of measures, one of the major policy changes introduced in this regard was the removal of the ban on arms export in 2014. The paper uses Japan’s new arms export policy as a case study to examine the process of Japan’s “normalisation” more closely. The case study is used to test the hypothesis that Japan has normalized in status but not in behavior. The attempt is also to identify the structural and non-structural challenges facing Japan’s defence industry and its export. The paper also provides some possible solutions to overcoming the challenges facing Japan as the latest entrant in the international weapons market. The larger aim is to identify the opportunities for strengthening India-Japan defence co-operation. The two countries can greatly benefit each other through such cooperation, as India is the second-largest arms importer in the world, while the Japanese defence industry faces an existential crisis unless it can accelerate its exports substantially. Finally, the paper also briefly analyses the impact of the pandemic and domestic political instability on the process of “normalisation”.
About the Speaker
Shahana Thankachan is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Navarra in Spain. Shahana received her Ph.D. from the Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2021. The topic of her thesis was “Japan’s Quest for Normalisation: A Study of Security Policy”. She worked as a Consultant at the Policy Planning and Research Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Delhi for 1.5 years. She was the recipient of the Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship as part of which she spent one year at Kobe University, Japan. She was also the recipient of the St Stephen’s College-Soka University fellowship and spent a year at Soka University, Japan. She is also affiliated to the Research Institute of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Japan. She worked at the National Maritime Foundation, Delhi as a Research Associate for one year. Shahana completed her master’s and MPhil from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She studied BA History (Honours) at St Stephen’s College, Delhi. Shahana is well conversant in the Japanese language and her areas of interest include Japanese security policy, East Asian geopolitics and security, Indo Pacific, and India-Japan relations. She is published in several reputed national and international journals and has been a panellist at several international conferences.
About the Chair
Srabani Roy Choudhury is a Professor in Japanese Studies, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She received her Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Prior to joining Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2007, she was a faculty in International Management Institute. She has been recipient of Japan Foundation fellowship, visiting scholar programme to Keizai Koho Centre, Ministry of Economics and Industry, Japan, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance, Japan, a visiting fellow at Research Institute for Economic & Business Administration, Kobe University and Graduate School of Development Studies, Nagoya University. Her research interest lies in the area of Japanese investment in India and enjoys micro –level firm studies. Her recent publications are centered on Japan- India economic relations and Japanese Multinationals experiences in India, their entry strategies and their survival techniques.’.
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