Militarization of Japan sign of Asia turning inwards

Japan’s defense ministry on Wednesday requested a record increase in spending for armed forces, the latest in a series of moves by Japan’s government to bolster the country’s militarism. Annelise Riles, professor of Far East legal studies at Cornell’s Law School and anthropology at Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences, says that much like in Europe and the U.S., Asia is experiencing an “inward turn.”

Riles is director of Meridian 180, a nonpartisan multidisciplinary community of academics, practitioners and policy makers from around the world that works to catalyze transformative policy change in the Asia-Pacific.


Riles says:

“With the increasing military build-ups and geopolitical conflict in the Asia-Pacific region unfortunately it is probably only a matter of time before a spark is inadvertently ignited in the region.

“The real question is, will we be ready to diffuse that fire, and to channel anxieties about security on all sides in productive directions or will lack of mutual understanding, avoidable mistakes, and narrow-minded pursuits of individual gain lead to unnecessary tragedy?

“What is worrisome is that much like the mood in Europe leading to events such as Brexit, and the mood in the United States leading some to seek to build walls along national borders, there is an inward turn happening in Japan, China and other Asian countries.”

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