Resolved: Japan ought to amend Article 9 of its constitution to allow for offensive military capabilities.



Opaque prolif worse than real prolif
Reduces the US defense burden
Abe power good
US arms sales good



China arms race and war
Regional arms race and war
Collapse of global nuclear non-proliferation and war
Japanese imperialism
Abe bad
US arms sales bad
Russia-Japan war


Counterplan: Strengthen US security guarantees

Thought: Good luck to the affirmative. The substance of the arguments and the structure of the debate favors the negative.


Japan Rearmed (April 2019). Book.  Japan’s United States–imposed postwar constitution renounced the use of offensive military force, but, Sheila A. Smith shows, a nuclear North Korea and an increasingly assertive China have the Japanese rethinking that commitment—and their reliance on U.S. security.

Amending Japan’s Pacifist Constitution (2019)

The rise of Japan’s militarism (2019)

Japan’s move away from pacifism (2019)

Is constitutionalist revision a bridge too far? (2019)

Rearming a forbidden military: Japan’s self-defense force and constitutional revision (2019)

Japan will have the military capabilities to attack enemy bases for the first time since WW II (2019)

Shinzo Abe and the Rise of Japanese Nationalism (2019)

Japan Rearmed (2019) Book

Is Japan’s new defense plan ambitious enough (2018)?

Challenges to Democracy: Rewriting Japan’s Article 9 (2019)

We the Japanese People, Rethinking the Meaing of the Peace Constitution (2018)Identity, Nationalism, and Threats to Northeast Asian Peace (2017).   The escalating public debate over amendment of the Japanese constitution centres on the war-renouncing principles of Article 9 — the symbol of Japan’s pacifist identity. Since elected to power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his supporters have been steadfastly pushing to revise the constitution to remove pacifist constraints on the nation’s Self-Defense Forces. In the face of growing insecurities generated by long economic stagnation, regional threats posed by North Korean missiles and rising Chinese hegemony, Japanese conservative politicians feel it is time to overhaul Japan’s humiliating postwar regime represented by the pacifist constitution and restore Japan’s pride and independence. This article examines the resurgence of nationalist discourse in Japan as a response to Japan’s threatened identity and esteem. As the Japanese people become increasingly exposed to nationalist narratives and realistic threats, how have these affected their desire to maintain a pacifist identity? This paper further examines the pacifist attitudes of today’s Japanese youth and to what extent they are in favour of changing the constitution to adopt a stronger military defence.

Japan’s Reinterpretation of Article 9: A Phyrric Victory for the US (2016). ABSTRACT: 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 2014, 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 oreign 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.

Globalizing Constitutional Moments: A Reflection of the Article 9 Debate. (2019). U.S. scholars have developed a rich toolkit for analyzing informal, as well as formal, processes of constitutional change. A leading example is Bruce Ackerman’s theory of “constitutional moments.” Comparative constitutional scholars, in contrast, have given relatively little attention to the legitimacy of informal modes of constitutional change. This Article contributes to filling this gap in our understanding of informal constitutional change outside the United States, by analyzing recent attempts by Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government informally to amend or “reinterpret” Japan’s pacifist Constitution. Attention to the Japanese experience in this context reveals superficial indications of an actual constitutional moment, but also a lack of true democratic support for such change. This, the Article suggests, further helps reveal an important, though largely unstated, precondition for the application of Ackerman’s theory—that there must be meaningful competition between political parties, in the legislature and at national elections, before informal constitutional change can legitimately occur.


The US-Japan alliance (2019)

Militarization Bad

The US is no threat to China, but a remilitarized Japan led by Abe may be (2019)

Japan plans for massive military build up aimed at Asia (2018)

Japan military expansion and instability in Asia (2019)

A Chinese view: The Risks of Changing Japan’s Constitution (2018)

Japan’s self-defense forces are beginning to focus on China (2019)

Japan’s new weapons, roles to meet China’s rise (2019)

Chian’s response to Japan’s reinterpretation (2018)

Militarization Good

Why the US should encourage a militarized Japan (2018)

Time to .let Japan be a regular military power (2017)

China’s military power: Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win (2018)