Japan’s Maritime Security: Continuity and Post-Cold War Evolution
Japan’s maritime security interests have been diverse yet constant since World War Two. The sea has served as an important source of its food supply, and key sea-lanes remain a lifeline for its economic prosperity and power. To assure its fair share and a sustainable use of maritime resources, Japan takes an active part in the international politics of resource management through legal, political, and more recently security approaches. Likewise, concerns about continued traditional maritime threats in East Asia and increasing non-state criminal offenses at sea have seen Japan slowly moving away from its “self-defense” orientation, assuming greater responsibility for allied security, and expanding its regional security partnerships. This paper examines Japan’s maritime strategies during and after the Cold War, in particular its efforts to build layers of multilateral security mechanisms for its manifold interests and concerns amidst the changing power configuration in East Asia.