"Food, Soldiers, Trust": The comprehensive revival of Japan's national strategy
Over the past two decades, Japan has rapidly revised its national strategy, significantly redefining its national interests. The former Vice Director of Japan's National Security Bureau, Nobukatsu Kanahara, cited the Confucian classic "The Analects · Yan Yuan" which mentions "sufficient food, sufficient military, and the trust of the people" to describe the core parts of Japan's national interests. In this analysis, I expand upon this framework attributing the evolution of Japan's definition of national interests to - the continuity of traditional emphasis on economy as "food," the gradual strengthening of military power as "soldiers," and the addition of ideology and values as "trust."
The unstable global environment has significantly pressured Japan. Regarding its internal dynamics, the increasing mix of politics with economic efforts has escalated Japan's demands. Especially after the end of the Cold War during the phase of strategic adjustment, Japan has shown signs of a "comprehensive revival" in strategic consciousness, particularly in terms of geopolitical strategy.
Attention must be paid to Japan's continuously strengthening international connectivity
What are the characteristics of Japan's national strategy in its current transformation? In Japan's foreign strategy, both security elements and the focus on China have shown an unprecedented rise. Japan's security strategy is increasingly reflected in the integration and coordinated promotion of maritime strategy, and the growing application of technological industrial elements. Additionally, Japan aims to boost its global political and economic influence independently through "broad cooperation.” This approach moves beyond the traditional path of its alliance system and has steadily increased its international connections.