25. On the relationship between the “militarization policies” of the Abe administration and the Japanese economy

The Abe administration argues that its security-related laws are necessary because of increasing tension in the security environment around Japan. There is some economic background behind these arguments. 


   The development of globalization can be cited first. The market economy expanded globally because the socialist bloc in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed and China became a market economy in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Then, a superpower, the United States, played a role in keeping the giant market order by excluding “rogue states”. It called on Japan and NATO to adopt new roles. Serious financial deficits due to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq escalated this trend. The United States government rebalanced its policy after deadlock in these wars and demanded that Japan act to confine China. On the other hand, Japanese firms pushed for stable order in the global economy because of their progressive multi-nationalization after the Plaza Accord. 


   In addition, Japanese business circles want to revive the Japanese economy via the militarization that has attended Abenomics. For instance, the Japanese shipbuilding industry has attached great significance to the military production of warships. It has responded to the decline in the Japanese share in global shipbuilding because Korea’s shipbuilding industry has expanded since 1980, as has Chinese shipbuilding since 2000. 


   Furthermore, Japanese business circles have pressed the government to relax three principles on arms exports since the 2000s. They worried that they may be left behind in the global restructuring of the military industry and the international joint development of arms in the EU and the United States. The government publicly promoted the strength of the Japan-US alliance through space cooperation in the New Space Development Plan in January, 2015. It is said that the size of the aerospace industry is targeted to reach 5 trillion yen in 10 years. The development of Japan’s military industry benefits the United States because Japan can make weapons which the United States no longer produce, so Japan complements the United States in this respect. 


   The Japanese people are facing a crisis as the Japan/US military-industrial complex seeks to increase its profits and control entire societies.



Taro Abe,

Professor of Political Economy, Nagoya Gakuin University